Last edited: February 06, 2005

Decisions Can Make Difference

King County Journal, August 4, 2003
1705 132nd Avenue N.E., Bellevue, WA 98005-2251
Fax: 425-635-0602

A letter writer ponders the recent Supreme Court decision ending sodomy laws and wonders how the court can change its mind from one year to another. Armstrong Williams writes to say that states should define such things. Both seem to have a strange idea of what the Supreme Court actually does for America.

The Constitution is a pretty radical document; we have been trying for more than 200 years to live up to the high ideals it sets for government and citizens alike. The government often has done things that violate the spirit of the document, such as segregation, sodomy laws, male-only rules, etc. In their time these things have been so popular that no one could oppose them effectively.

But there comes a time when most of the population sees an evil for what it is. When that time comes, the only thing that keeps an unjust law on the books is a minority that passionately supports it—usually because it gives them someone to pick on. Legislators won’t vote to repeal laws they know are wrong because they fear losing more votes than they’ll gain.

At such times, then, the court can act. These events are rare—two or three a century—but they’re very special because each one represents the end of an injustice and a step closer to the ideals of individual freedom and responsibility that the country was founded on.

—Greg Hullender, Bellevue

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