May 11, 2014
Judge Chris Piazza, a circuit court judge in my home state of Arkansas, decided that he is singularly more powerful than the 135 elected legislators of the state, the elected Governor, and 75% of the voters of the state. Apparently he mistook his black robe for a cape and declared himself to be "SUPER LAWMAKER!"
In an order handed down at the close of business, cowardly making it impossible for the attorney general or other attorneys to file for an immediate stay of his overreaching decision, he waved his magic legal wand and erased a 1997 law which defined marriage as between a man and a woman, and a Constitutional amendment passed in 2004 by 75% of the voters which affirmed in the state's Constitution that natural marriage between a a man and a woman is the law. I signed the law in 1997 as Governor, which was sponsored by a Democrat and passed overwhelmingly by the House and Senate, which was comprised of 89% Democrats. I supported the 2004 Constitutional Amendment, Amendment 83. Once it passed, I took an oath to uphold it. So did Judge Piazza. He took the same oath. But he must have come to believe that his oath didn't really mean anything. He must have come to believe the popularly held, but completely false notion that a judge can go beyond deciding something is unconstitutional, he can prescribe the remedy and even implement it. Sorry, judge, but I learned in 9th grade civics and from a reading of the US and Arkansas state constitution that we have 3 branches of government. And that the 3 of them are equal. The judicial branch is not the superior branch and cannot erase the will of the other 2. Most importantly, the ultimate authority and power rests with the people, and they spoke in a 3-1 vote. The dangerous precedent of elected officials allowing one single member of the judicial branch to become Lord God of law is dangerous and unconstitutional. A judicial ruling can send a matter back to the legislature for remedy, but it cannot dictate nor implement the remedy. That requires legislation and the execution of the laws passed, which is the purview of the legislative and executive branches. By virtually ordering same sex marriage to begin immediately, which in fact happened in at least one Arkansas county on the morning after Judge Piazza's Friday night massacre of the law and the will of the people, he positioned himself as if he were all 3 branches of government and declared the voters immaterial. The Governor should call a special session of the legislature and impeach the judge and affirm the people's will. If the people wish to allow same sex marriage, they can put that matter on the ballot and vote for it. Or the legislature can put that matter on the ballot and ask the people to change the Constitution to allow it. But they should not stand by and allow one man to think his robe has more power than it does.