December 3, 2007

Catch of the Day the Week Maybe the Month: Hugh Hewitt in Nov. 2003, on Goodridge and How Romney Should React

Filed under: Health Care,Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:54 pm

I don’t know how you can overestimate the damning significance of this.

Amy Contrada at Mass Resistance, who blogs there as “AMann,” has found an item that goes immediately to the front of the “can’t make this stuff up” file (I am reproducing the full Hewitt column for fair use and discussion purposes; note that the Goodridge same-sex marriage ruling was on November 18, 2003; bolds are mine):

Just Say “No”: Calling Governor Romney and the elected representatives of Massachusetts
by Hugh Hewitt
The Weekly Standard

“JOHN MARSHALL has made his decision,” Andrew Jackson is said to have remarked in the aftermath of a Supreme Court decision he disliked, “now let him enforce it.”

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney would be well advised to ponder that line long and hard over the Thanksgiving holidays.

It is an interesting time for the Massachusetts Supreme Court to have seized control of the elected branches in its state, given the connection between Thanksgiving and the Bay State. Unlike its neighbor to the north, the Look-at-Me State of Vermont, Massachusetts actually has a place in the collective national consciousness and Americans of all regions are interested in its history. Now, in the aftermath of Tuesday’s radical diktat from four justices to Massachusetts’ elected representatives, Americans are interested in the state’s future as well.

Romney should seriously consider indifference. The governor noted that the ruling declaring same-sex marriage a mandate of the Massachusetts constitution is contrary to the sweep of recorded history, but it is more than that. The ruling is also absurd in its reasoning and breathtaking in its arrogance.

The state that was birthed in the Mayflower Compact, sparked a revolution against unrepresentative government, embraced abolitionism out of religious zeal, and championed learning and debate has been presented with a lengthy bit of cultural posturing dressed up as a court decision. Like Captain Picard at the controls of the Entreprise, the four justices have waved their collective hand and declared “Make it so.”

The legislators and the governor have been given 180 days to change 387 years of Massachusetts history. That history begins around the time of the Compact, with its signatories’ promise of “all due submission and obedience” to the “just & equall Lawes, ordinances, Acts, constitutions, & offices,” flowing from a “Civill body politick.” Of course the nature of that “body politick” has evolved in the four centuries since its launch, but nowhere along the way did it embrace the concept of four philosopher kings delivering commands.

The decision is illegitimate, and the appropriate response will be to ignore it. Some law professors will shudder (though two well know in the blogosphere, Eugene Volokh and Glenn Reynolds did not when the subject was kicked around on my program Tuesday; Volokh in fact thinks such inter-branch confrontations are useful in the life of constitutional republics). Editorial writers will shout. Senator Kennedy may even brand Romney a Neanderthal, as he did Justices Brown, Owen, and Judge Kuhl earlier this month.

But the storm will pass and the people of Massachusetts will applaud. They didn’t sign up for a banana republic run by pretenders in robes, and no one in the state’s illustrious history ever sacrificed life or limb–from Boston Harbor to Concord, Antietam or the battlefields of Europe and Asia–for the proposition that four judges get to change everything when they decide to conjure up a reason for doing so.

Romney and the legislature ought to stand back and say no. In fact, if the court threatens with penalties, they ought to threaten back. An outrageous overreach is only as strong as the passivity with which it is greeted.

This isn’t primarily about gay marriage, and it isn’t primarily about Massachusetts. It is primarily about self-government and limiting courts to their constitutional duties. And Massachusetts, again, has a central role to play.

The central point that Mass Resistance, John Haskins, Robert Paine, Gregg Jackson, and so many others have been making since Mitt Romney decided to seek the presidency is that Mr. Romney had a “central role to play,” and that he utterly failed.

He did not just abdicate his role. He unconstitutionally, and without requisite legislative authority, implemented same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, causing exactly what Hugh Hewitt so loathed to occur, namely “four judges (changing) everything when they decide to conjure up a reason for doing so.” Regardless of how you feel about the desirability or undesirability of same-sex marriage, if constitutions are to mean anything, this is not arguable.

The November 2003 version of Hugh Hewitt agreed. Hewitt ’03 would have been appalled at what Mitt Romney did and didn’t do in response to Goodridge (see detailed links below). Hewitt ’03 would have looked at what actually happened during Mitt Romney’s last 2-1/2 years relative to Goodridge and hammered at the utter mendacity of this Romney statement to Robert Bluey of Human Events in December 2006:

I’ve fought same-sex marriage in Massachusetts in every way I could within the bounds of the law.

The 2007 version of Hugh Hewitt has changed his tune “a bit” (original design by Weapons of Mass Discussion):


What could have happened between then and now to cause this?

Carrie Sheffield almost has it right in her review of Hewitt’s early-2007 book about Romney’s religion at Amazon’s detailed link for that book:

….. political reporters will bristle further at Hewitt’s extraordinary suggestion that, now that he’s written the definitive work on Romney’s faith, any future questions about ….. (that faith) ….. amount to rehashed prejudice.

I think it’s more than that — It appears that Hugh Hewitt ’07 would prefer that his book end all questions of any kind about his favored candidate.


UPDATE: I heard Hannity talking with Newt today, and one of them said that Huckabee is up 15 and Romney down 5 in Iowa in the past month.


The reasons why Hewitt ’03 was right, and Hewitt ’07′s cheerleading for Mitt Romney requires justifications I can’t make, and I believe Hewitt can’t make, are explored in depth in the “Romney, the Courts, and the Constitutions” series:

(Click “More” if you are on the home page)

- Nov. 21 — Part 1: Abortion Coverage in RomneyCare
- Nov. 21 — Part 2: Mitt Romney and Same-Sex Marriage
- Nov. 23 — Part 3: Various Excerpts, Statements, and Comments
- Nov. 24 — Part 4: What’s Beck Got to Do with It?
- Nov. 25 — Part 5: The Next President and the Courts

For those who insist on the Cliff’s Notes versions of the above posts, here they are (Part 3 is excluded because it “only” has excerpts and quotes from elsewhere):

  • (Part 1) Mitt Romney did nothing to stop or restrict state-subsidized abortion in Massachusetts, and with the institution of RomneyCare, definitely expanded its scope, and may even have enshrined it into Massachusetts law for the first time. Also see Part 1 for links to the underlying columns, blog posts, and background info from Gregg Jackson, Kevin Whelan, and John Haskins.
  • (Part 2) The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage in the Goodridge case was legally absurd and in and of itself against Massachusetts’ law and constitution. Even setting aside that point, an SJC ruling in Massachusetts requires that either legislation or a constitutional amendment be enacted for implementation to legally take place. No legislation or constitutional amendment was ever enacted, yet Mitt Romney implemented Goodridge anyway. He had no legislative direction, so he in fact did not have the authorization to go ahead with implementation. By doing so, he violated his own oath of office to uphold the Bay State’s constitution.
  • (Part 4) A 1988 US Supreme Court ruling in a labor-law and free-speech case shows that rulings by the Supremes are often not automatic without enabling legislation. Only a few states have implemented the ruling involved (Communications Workers of America v. Beck). Congress has passed no legislation, meaning not only that our president can refuse to carry out the ruling, in point of fact he must refuse.
  • (Part 5) The next president may have to defy Supreme Court rulings that unconstitutionally rely on foreign law or that are clearly and obviously in violation of the clear meaning of the Constitution itself. I believe that any of the Democrat nominees would, if elected president, handle such situations opportunistically, opting to enforce the ones they like (in violation of their oath of office), and refusing to enforce the ones they don’t. I hold hope ranging from a little to a lot that four of the five major contenders for the GOP presidential nomination might take up this likely crucial challenge. Based on his record in Massachusetts as described above and in the detail of these posts, I hold out no such hope for Mitt Romney.

I have brought back a BizzyBlog term from previous elections, namely the BizzyBlog Dealbreaker. A Dealbreaker is “something that completely justifies a person not voting for you, regardless of your party or your current stands on the issues.” Romney’s handling of the subsidized abortion and same-sex marriage issues are each Dealbreakers. As such, absent satisfactory explanations, I believe that he is unfit to be president.



  1. Perhaps Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter will lose their “teeny-bop” crushes on this fool and start thinking again…

    Hewitt is as intellectually derelict as Romney.

    Nice work on this…will bang the drums.

    Comment by Rose — December 3, 2007 @ 4:03 pm

  2. It’ll take some major effort to get Hugh to even acknowledge the existence of such information. And good luck getting him to engage.

    Comment by The Puddle Pirate — December 3, 2007 @ 5:09 pm

  3. #1, we can hope.

    Comment by TBlumer — December 3, 2007 @ 5:09 pm

  4. A Hugh Hewitt flip-flop on Romney…

    What a difference four years makes…….

    Trackback by Brain Shavings — December 3, 2007 @ 5:13 pm

  5. At this point I’m beginning to wonder if there isn’t some cash money involved. Nice find Tom!

    Comment by dave — December 3, 2007 @ 5:18 pm

  6. #2, Mr. Blog has written about the risks one takes by ignoring and trying to bottle up info. I would hope he doesn’t want to experience it first hand too much longer.

    #5, credit goes to Mass Resistance. I think I have a couple I’ll be able to take credit for shortly.

    Comment by TBlumer — December 3, 2007 @ 9:59 pm

  7. Tom, you know as well as I do that Hugh has created a major blind spot for himself. He’s either unwilling to examine his cartoonish Romney boosterism, or he really believes the hype he’s shoveling.

    Comment by The Puddle Pirate — December 3, 2007 @ 10:58 pm

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