Strikes me as exactly right:
[N]o authority supports the Attorney General’s claim that a constitutional amendment adopted through the constitutionally prescribed procedure is invalid simply because the amendment affects a prior judicial interpretation of a right that the Constitution denominates “inalienable.” The natural-law jurisprudence reflected in passages from the few early judicial opinions relied upon by the Attorney General has been discredited for many years, and, in any event, no decision suggests that when a constitution has been explicitly amended to modify a constitutional right (including a right identified in the Constitution as “inalienable”), the amendment may be found unconstitutional on the ground that it conflicts with some implicit or extraconstitutional limitation that is to be framed and enforced by the judiciary. Although the amending provisions of a constitution can expressly place some subjects or portions of the constitution off-limits to the amending process — as already noted, some state constitutions contain just such explicit limits — the California Constitution contains no such restraints. This court would radically depart from the well-established limits of the judicial function were it to engraft such a restriction onto the Constitution in the absence of an explicit constitutional provision limiting the amendment power....
In a sense, petitioners’ and the Attorney General’s complaint is that it is just too easy to amend the California Constitution through the initiative process. But it is not a proper function of this court to curtail that process; we are constitutionally bound to uphold it. If the process for amending the Constitution is to be restricted — perhaps in the manner it was explicitly limited in an earlier version of our state Constitution, or as limited in the present-day constitutions of some of our sister states — this is an effort that the people themselves may undertake through the process of amending their Constitution in order to impose further limitations upon their own power of initiative.
The California Supreme Court justified its earlier decision recognizing same-sex marriages by reference to the California Constitution, which in turns draws its authority from having been enacted by the people. Whether that decision was or wasn't a sound interpretation of the California Constitution, an interpretation of the California Constitution is what it purported to be.
The constitutional provisions that the people enacted the people may likewise lawfully amend. Perhaps the amendment may be morally wrong, but it is legally authoritative (unless it violates some superior legal rule, such as the U.S. Constitution, but recall that the debate in this case has been about rights supposedly secured by the California Constitution).
More on the amendment/revision question, I hope, as I read further.
Related Posts (on one page):
- What If the Voters Overturn Other Constitutional Rights Decisions?
- Justice Moreno's Partial Dissent:
- What Next for Same-Sex Marriage in California?
- Popular Sovereignty:
- The California Supreme Court on Attorney General Jerry Brown's Arguments Against Prop. 8:
- The California Supreme Court on Amendment vs. Revision:
- From the California Supreme Court's Prop. 8 Decision:
- California Prop. 8 Upheld, But Held Not To Affect Existing Same-Sex Marriages: