February 18, 2012

Maggie Gallagher’s Hugh Hewitt Moment on Mitt Romney

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:56 am

In November 2003 at the Weekly Standard, talk show host and columnist Hugh Hewitt advocated that then-governor Mitt Romney should resist the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s opinion in the Goodridge same-sex “marriage” case issued earlier that month.

As we all know, Mitt Romney did not resist. Instead, he unilaterally and extra-constitutionally implemented same-sex marriage in Massachusetts when he was under no compulsion to do so, and did what he did to keep a private campaign promise. Under the Bay State’s Constitution, he was compelled to do nothing. The Legislature, which the Court in its opinion had suggested should pass an enabling law (it was NOT an order, as the Court had no power to compel the Legislature to do anything) never did, and to this date never has.

Even though Romney went directly against what Hewitt advocated, he subsequently became the former governor’s most insufferable cheerleader over five years ago, and remains so to this day. His “You know who this helps? Mitt Romney” reaction to campaign developments has become something of a running joke in the center-right blogosphere, in my opinion to the long-term detriment of his credibility.

Friday evening, Iwana Carpenter, the proprietor of the Kindling for Candles blog, left a comment which sadly places National Organization for Marriage head and longtime traditional marriage advocate Maggie Gallagher in the same negative light as Hewitt. Here is most of Ms. Carpenter’s comment (bold is mine):

I’ve also been appalled at Maggie Gallagher’s defense of Romney, and I thought you’d be interested in her TownHall post of May 11, 2004:

“Take a look at the new unisex marriage licenses that Gov. Romney has decided (without any authorization by the state legislature) to create. Gone is the language of bride and groom, husband and wife, replaced by the new, deeply moving announcement that “Party A” is going to join with “Party B” in something the court insists we call marriage. Gone as well is the whole set of deeply ingrained ideas associated with marriage as the union of opposite sexes: Marriage is more than couple-love; it is the means by which the human race bridges the gender divide, creates mothers and fathers for children, and makes the next generation happen.”

I do not know why she pointed out Romney’s initiative, which I don’t think she meant it as a compliment, and yet now defends him. Surely she read Hadley Arkes’ NRO column written a few days later on May 17, 2004, in which he lays responsibility at Romney’s feet and outlines the actions Romney could have taken, but did not: The Missing Governor.

Ms. Carpenter’s finding is especially stinging, because it shows that Gallagher has done a Hugh Hewitt. As I pointed out in Part 1 of the three-part December series instigated by Rick Santorum’s Iowa debate call-out of Romney for doing what he did to legitimize same-sex marriage, Gallagher is now passionately defending Romney’s post-Goodridge actions:

… some social conservatives in Iowa appear to have gotten the idea that Mitt Romney is somehow responsible for gay marriage in Massachusetts.

I don’t mind anyone criticizing Romney for the things he has done. But this particular attack is grotesquely unfair. I know. I was there.

In the summer of 2003, when I learned the Massachusetts courts were likely to make gay marriage a reality, I quit my job and started up a think tank to work full time on the marriage issue. I traveled to Massachusetts multiple times to confer with local leaders, testify before the legislature, address grassroots gatherings, meet with policymakers.

Mitt Romney didn’t just oppose court-ordered same-sex marriage with words, he fought hard, including behind the scenes.

When the people of Massachusetts mobilized the most massive signature-gathering operation in the state’s history in support of a marriage amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman, Romney supported the effort.

… If Romney had had another term as governor, the people of Massachusetts would have won the right to overrule their court and reverse gay marriage, as the people of California did.

As I noted at the post:

Ms. Gallagher just skipped a nearly two-year time period, namely from the November 18, 2003 Goodridge “ruling” through summer 2005 (the beginning of the constitutional amendment effort, which dragged on until June 2007, when a fundamentally dishonest and cowardly Bay State legislature failed to follow through with a call for the required Constitutional convention it had approved just five months earlier), as if it didn’t exist. In the rest of her column, she never filled in that critical time gap.

It would appear that part of the reason she never filled in that gap is that her column is included therein.

But in Gallagher’s “defense,” the first paragraph of that 2004 column demonstrates that she has been wrong from the beginning about the enforcement powers in inherent in the court’s ruling:

This May 17 marks two important events in our American life: the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, and the introduction of court-imposed same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.

However, as Ms. Carpenter observed in her comment, Gallagher should have been set straight on the “court-imposed” nonsense by Hadley Arkes’ blistering National Review column six days later, the day Massachusetts town clerks began issuing Person A-Person B “marriage” licenses:

The Missing Governor
Have Republican leaders lost their confidence on basic moral matters?

… Clerks in some of the counties would have been resistant, but Romney could have invoked the Massachusetts constitution (Part 2, ch. III, art. V): “All causes of marriage, divorce, and alimony, and all appeals from the Judges of probate shall be heard and determined by the Governor and Council, until the Legislature shall, by law, make other provision.” (In my view, that’s a “should have.” — Ed.)

Romney could have pointed out here that the Supreme Judicial Court had actually violated the constitution by taking jurisdiction in a class of cases that the constitution had explicitly withheld from the courts.

… But as Romney contemplated his moves here, he could feel the drag even on the part of conservative lawyers. Lincoln’s argument, they thought, was no longer widely understood, and any challenge to the court in this way was likely to set off tremors, even in their own circles. In that moment of holding back, it became clear that even conservative lawyers had come to incorporate, and accept, the premises that gave to the courts a position of supremacy in our constitutional schemes.

The conservative lawyers argued that new plaintiffs would form a class and seek an injunction from the court to enforce the holding in the Goodridge case. But they seemed to forget that the legislature has the authority to shape and define the power to issue injunctions.

if the constitutional authority was really with the governor (which it was, and still is — Ed.), to act for himself and the legislature, then it made the most profound difference that the governor flex that authority now himself: He could invoke his powers under the constitution; cite the error of the court in seizing jurisdiction wrongfully for itself; and order all licenses of marriage to be sent on to Boston, to his office, until the legislature, in the fullness of time, settled its policy on marriage. By an act of that kind he would have forced a change in the focus of the litigation: The task would fall then to the court to entertain challenges to the actions of the governor. If the judges summoned the governor to appear before them, there would no longer be any quibble over the question of whether the governor has standing before the court, or whether he would appear. And the court could be compelled now to face precisely the issue that the judges had skirted: whether the majority of four had themselves violated the constitution of Massachusetts.

Read the whole thing.

Given her personal involvement in the traditional marriage movement, it’s virtually inconceivable that Maggie Gallagher did not read Arkes’ column within hours of its publication. In fact, I believe she almost understood the core constitutional separation-of-powers issue then, and pretends not to misunderstand it now. The evidence:

  • In 2004, as noted above, she correctly observed that Romney had decided to issue unisex licenses “without any authorization by the state legislature” (her assertion in the first paragraph of that Townhall column that the issuance of certificates was “court-imposed” makes no sense. If it’s not “authorized,” it cannot be “imposed.” What Mitt Romney did was illegally and extra-constitutionally acquiesce).
  • But in December 2011, she claimed that Goodridge was “court-ordered”, and did not mention the legislature’s failure to auhtorize anything.

She also wrote in December that “(Romney) fought hard, including behind the scenes.”

No he didn’t. As Arkes demonstrated, he caved at the critical moment, and did none of the things a constitution-following governor could have and should have done.

Ms. Carpenter’s finding critically reinforces my contentions in Part 3 of the December series regarding Maggie Gallagher’s indefensible defense of Mitt Romney:

Sorry Maggie, you’re wrong (and sadly, I believe you know it):

  • Mitt Romney is definitely responsible for gay marriage in Massachusetts.
  • He is also responsible for giving other governors (e.g., Arnold Schwarzenegger in California at crunch time there) an example of timidity to disgracefully emulate.
  • He is responsible for creating a legal illusion which has placed additional and in some cases irresistible pressure on other states, culminating with New York earlier this year, to take actions legalizing same-sex marriage which they likely would not have otherwise taken.
  • Crucially, Mitt Romney is, more than any other single man in America, responsible for strengthening the culture of what you described mere months ago as “scorn and hatred on any American who does something to support marriage as one man and one woman.”

The subhead at Mr. Arkes’ column reads: “Have Republican leaders lost their confidence on basic moral matters?”

That remains to be seen (though in many arenas it’s not looking good), but it is absolutely certain that if Mitt Romney ever had it, he lost it in the aftermath of Goodridge.

Given that history, there’s no way such a man should be considered qualified to become President of the United States.

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (021812)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:30 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.


Positivity: Documentary about actress turned nun nominated for Oscar

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:25 am

From Hollywood:

Feb 17, 2012 / 04:12 am

Mother Dolores Hart, O.S.B., a former actress turned cloistered nun, will attend her first Academy Awards show since 1959 to show support for “God is the Bigger Elvis,” an Oscar-nominated documentary about her and her abbey.

Mother Dolores, 73, was an award-winning actress who performed in two Elvis Presley movies. In 1963, she was about to sign a seven-figure contract and was engaged to a Los Angeles businessman when she decided to join the Benedictine Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Conn, where she is now prioress.

The 37-minute documentary talks about Mother Dolores’ story and about life at the abbey. It is an Oscar nominee for best documentary short category and will premiere April 5 on HBO.

“I adored Hollywood. I didn’t leave because it was a place of sin,” she told USA Today.

“I left Hollywood at the urging of a mysterious thing called vocation. It’s a call that comes from another place that we call God because we don’t have any other way to say it. It’s a call of love. Why do you climb a mountain?”

The nun said she allowed cameras to access the abbey to help those who are soul-searching. …

Go here for the rest of the story.