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Mark Jacobson, Richville, Minn., Published May 13 2012

Human rights supercede votes

Apparently, even President Barack Obama doesn’t understand. Human rights are not subject to his opinion or the opinion of anybody else. Only the Constitution and the courts can decide this issue, and human rights should never be subject to popular opinion or a vote because public opinion can be manipulated or distorted by prejudice.

Instead of saying he changed his mind (under the influence of his daughters), he should have said that human rights and equal treatment under the law are not matters to be settled by popular opinion or by voting.

Which other human rights have been subject to a vote in the past? The answer is zero. The populace didn’t vote for or against women’s suffrage; Congress passed the 18th Amendment, following the guidance of the Constitution and these principles of equal rights and equal treatment under the law. Same with slavery and civil rights – acts of Congress and the courts decided the law.

The idea that we can vote and express our popular will in regard to the rights of others is heresy in a democracy founded on equal treatment and equal rights under the law. Yet, state legislators foster blatant ignorance in this regard, over and again. What law schools did these people go to? I learned this stuff in eighth grade.