Stephanie Herseth hid Thursday behind the gay marriage straw man created by the GOP . She voted with the Repugnicans to approve a House resolution that denies federal courts jurisdiction to hear or determine any question pertaining to the interpretation of the Defense of Marriage Act or the federal statute defining marriage.
I don’t care where you stand on gay marriage. It is appalling that Herseth, a lawyer, would support a measure to deprive federal courts of their right to review congressional action. Even the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service could find no precedent for Congress passing a law to limit federal courts from ruling on the constitutionality of another law. Under the Herseth-approved approach, Congress could immunize any action it takes from judicial review. While the bill is certainly suspect under the seminal case of Marbury v. Madison (which established the Supreme Court’s right to review acts of Congress), they evidently didn’t mention that case in whatever constitutional law class Herseth took or else she was gone those days.
This bill is further proof gay marriage is nothing but a bogeyman for the right. Granted, Herseth told us during her campaign that she was with the right-wingers on this issue. I also understand she is worried about re-election and that she would likely say she has to pick her fights and save them for ones more crucial to a Democratic or liberal agenda. I find the latter a bogus argument. Since when is it wrong or ill-advised to vote against an unconstitutional measure? Tom Daschle is in a tough (and probably more targeted) race and had the guts to look past the bs of the Gay Marriage Amendment to the truly substantive issues of federal involvement in state issues. The legislation Herseth voted for is an even greater attack on fundamental constitutional principles. She should be ashamed.