But it has not happened yet, and the acts of the New Jersey Supreme Court, and before it the highest courts in Massachusetts and Vermont, are mere legalistic, non-violent coups, as disreputable as the Dred Scott decision and Plessy v. Ferguson. The will of a handful of judicial radicals has replaced that of elected representatives of the people in a tiny number of states, and such usurpations are very ominous indeed.
For what the majority of unelected judges declare in one area, they can undeclare in another. What radical judges give, they can take away. And more besides.
It was on this ground that I especially hoped to debate Sullivan when he appeared for eight segments on my radio show on Wednesday. (The audio will be posted here. The transcript here. And the audio of the brilliant Lileks' parody here ) Sullivan's book is an incoherent gambol on this point, praising as it does the built-in constitutional suspicion of radical innovation, but silent on the radicals-in-robes purporting to read into the various Equal Protection Clauses of the states' constitutions the intent of framers to command marriage to be open to same-sex couples.
Throughout the interview, Sullivan did not want to discuss his book. He wanted to engage in histrionics. Most authors do not run into hosts who have actually read the book in question. I did. Andrew strived mightily to make the subject of our interview anything but his book. Listen. You'll understand why. (One summary of the exchange is here.)
Sullivan wants to be known as a constitutional conservative, but such a pose cannot be squared with the imposition of same-sex marriage by state courts. Thus his pretense to be a conservative is easily discredited.
Sullivan is in fact a radical, like Pelosi and Reid and the rest of the left, who care only for the results they demand, not the process by which they obtain them. Adherence to the rule of law defines a conservative. Sullivan refuses to condemn judicial law-making and rejects constitutional majorities when it comes to issues such as same-sex marriage and the treatment and trial of prisoners.
Sullivan wants very badly to be described as a conservative, but he is no more a conservative than I am a Russian.
Sullivan is, simply put, a majority of one. And that majority of one hates George Bush.
For the left, Bush has become a sort of uber-bogeyman --a dictator, a Hitler or worse.
That Bush complied with Hamdan -- terrible decision of a 5-3 court-- and submitted a draft law, negotiated its particulars, and signed it into law leaves Sullivan and the left at a loss, and not just for words, but for coherence. Bush submitted to the constitutional order. They refuse to do the same.
The left hates Bush for a variety of reasons, chief among them that it is easy in this age when nothing is easy. It is safe to scream "torture" in an era when threats that boggle the mind are in fact pressing. There is no group less threatening to inveigh against than American Christians. Attack American Christians and they pray for you. My e-mail box is full of concern for Andrew, and they are right to pray for someone so confounded by the Gospels.
In the meantime, though, the extremists abroad plot to kill us in great numbers, and the radicals at home move to undermine a free people's confidence in the idea of a nation of laws. Elections loom that offer a stark choice between a party committed to victory and a party committed to retreat and a policy of appeasement.
Because there is doubt about the results of so stark a choice, there has to be doubt about the possibility that a nation conceived as ours was as a democratic republic can survive. That Andrew Sullivan is read at all is a symptom of a fundamentally unserious country in a deadly serious age. A nice and well read fellow, yes; but serious? No. He's a Pelosi, a Reid, a Leahy.
Our enemies are not such folk.