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Court turns questions over to Minnesotans

August 29, 2012
Gary Andersen, Lee Smith , Fairmont Sentinel

The Minnesota Supreme Court this week bolstered a tenet of our state and nation: In matters of public policy not in violation of constitutional rights, the people get to decide. The court did this by rejecting an attempt to remove the photo ID question from this fall's ballot, and by striking down Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's ballot titles for the photo ID question and the gay marriage question.

Stated simply: The Legislature decided to put the two questions on the ballot this fall, and citizens will decide their fate. No one else gets to interfere in this democratic process, either to prohibit such a vote or to tinker with the wording of the questions so as to bias voters.

Here is what the court had to say:?"The proper role for the judiciary ... is not to second-guess the wisdom of policy decisions that the constitution commits to one of the political branches. The people are the sole judge of the wisdom of such matters."

What's refreshing is that the decision preserves, rather than usurps, citizens' rights. For decades, an ongoing strategy, particularly among left-leaning groups, has been to use courts as super-legislatures to obtain outcomes favored by a given cause. This is a way of imposing one's will without doing the hard work of convincing others, as democracy normally demands. Those who won those cases may have felt emboldened by the shortcut, but the decisions have thrown courts into disrepute and created a short-circuit in society.



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