Holloway: Abraham Lincoln, the Supreme Court, and the Defense of Marriage Act


Today on Public Discourse, Carson Holloway argues that it's only because our politicians have failed to follow Lincoln's example for so long that judicial activism of the sort we saw last week is possible:

139668363Just as Lincoln rejected the Supreme Court's reasoning in the Dred Scott decision, so too conservative leaders need to reject the Court's faulty reasoning about DOMA. Anti-democratic judicial activism has become habitual only because our elected leaders have declined to respond to it with Lincoln's clarity and firmness.

In United States v. Windsor, the conservative movement suffered a serious (although not decisive) defeat in the war to preserve marriage. If we are to learn from this defeat, we need (if I may stick with the military metaphor) an "after action report." That is, conservatives need to ask whether they could have done something different that might have resulted in a different outcome. Although the left has earnestly sought the Court's decision and the right has resisted it, the right still must, to put it bluntly, ponder whether it shares the blame for this debacle.

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