The Constitutional duty to defend the law … until you decide not to

495px-Constitution_of_the_United_States,_page_1Imagine a world where abandoning your oath to defend the laws of the land, in order to forward your own ideological beliefs, is rewarded by those who are supposed to protect the rule of law. You have now entered the “brave new world” of same-sex politics.

Of the many impacts of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions on the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8 (Prop 8), a far-reaching, but little-discussed, effect will likely stem from how the Supreme Court rewarded elected and appointed government officials for abandoning their duty to defend the law.

In the DOMA case, the president of the United States and the U.S. attorney general refused to defend the law, because of their ideological views on “gay rights” and the U.S. Constitution. One of the primary duties of the attorney general is to defend federal law in court – a duty that he took a solemn oath to “faithfully discharge. … So help me God.”

In the Prop 8 case, California’s governor and attorney general abandoned the defense of the law, again for ideological reasons, after it was struck down in a lower federal court. Both officials took a constitutional oath to “faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter,” which includes defending the state’s law and constitution in court.

In both instances, the officials who chose to abandon their legal duties – effectively placing themselves above the law – were rewarded by the Supreme Court with the ideological victory they ultimately sought.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the attorney general of Pennsylvania is following suit. She recently announced her refusal to defend Pennsylvania’s defense of marriage law, setting aside the duties required of her office for the sake of personal ideological harmony. Similar to other state elected officials, the Pennsylvania attorney general takes a solemn oath to “discharge the duties of my office with fidelity,” such as defending Pennsylvania law in court.

Consider what that means for a moment.

Evidently in today’s world a governor or attorney general may abandon their duty to defend the laws of the land – a duty which they have taken a solemn oath to “faithfully discharge” with “fidelity” – and be rewarded for doing so with the political victory which their ideology drives them to pursue. If public officials can neglect their duties under the law because their ideology sees the celebration of homosexual sodomy as a “virtue,” and the highest court in the land rewards them for it, it may be a sign that a meaningful rule of law is now, or is soon to be, a relic of the past.

John Adams once described our future government (before it was a government) as “a government of laws, not of men.” In other words, the United States would be uniquely characterized by the fact that we, as a nation, would submit to the duties of the law rather than turn ourselves over to the unstable winds of passion and power simply to further our short-sighted interests. As an illustration of his integrity in regard to this principle, he even chose to defend men in court whose cause he vehemently opposed (the British soldiers in the Boston Massacre), because he believed that the rule of law required that these men receive a fair trial, including representation in court.

Evidently, with the tacit blessing of the Supreme Court, such integrity and commitment to the rule of law is no longer a necessary virtue … especially when the “virtue” of homosexual sodomy is at stake.

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