Thursday, November 30, 2006

Another Timid SSM Judge

A single Supreme Judicial Court justice chickened out on the suit to force the current anti-same-sex-marriage amendment onto the 2008 ballot if the Constitutional Convention does not vote it up or down on January 2nd, 2007. Justice Judith A. Cowin called for the whole SJC to hear the case on December 20th instead.

The Boston Herald runs the wire story and the Boston Globe has an even shorter version. You can see the plaintiffs and defendants here.

After a half hour of argument this morning, Cowin waited a couple of hours before disappearing behind the shield of the whole court. She voted in the majority in the Goodridge case. It's unclear whether this factored in her unwillingness to rule.

Even though the SJC ruled over a decade ago that it could not compel the legislature to vote on an amendment, that didn't stop the plaintiff's attorney, John Hanify. He argued to Cowin that the SJC had to stop a pattern of parliamentary maneuvering in lieu of passing through amendments. "They’ve done it repeatedly. They’ve done it incessantly. It will persist if the court doesn’t intervene."

That a hard argument to win. Typically, courts rely on precedence.

On the other hand, this gives plaintiff Mitt Romney, nominally acting as private citizen, not governor nor Presidential aspirant, a chance to show off again. Even though, God bless him, he clearly enabled SSM here, he's happy to pretend otherwise.

Tags: , , , , , , Judith Cowin


Anonymous said...

I dont know the ins and outs of SJC procedure, but I can only hope that she referred the question to the whole court so that they can give Willard a unanimous kick in the *ss.

massmarrier said...

That would be nice if true, but a better kick would have been ruling against the suit 1) because it was premature until the ConCon did not vote on January 2nd, and 2) because the SJC already said it can't compel legislative votes.

Instead, this court has been positively paralyzed in timidity since Goodridge. They got so much grief and accusation, it appears to affected them strongly.

Our new governor will have to inspire both legislative leaders and the SJC to do their duties, with courage and conviction.

Boston Bud said...

But you know that if she would have ruled against it they would have appealed to the full court anyway. This way it also eats up their time since the hearing won't be until Dec. 20. String them along.

Anonymous said...

One has to wonder: Is Mitt Romney abusing the legal process to act outside the legitimate scope of his office in restraint of trade?

Just a thought that perhaps somebody should look into.

massmarrier said...

I guess we have to say it's all fluff. From the beginning -- even before Goodridge, Mitt has been indifferent to homosexuals (unless he could get an endorsement) and to SSM (except where he could jump from one side to another to claim alignment with potential voters.

Leadership and courage were what we deserved over the past four years. He never offered either.