Letter from Bob Wefald: Lessons from measure’s defeat

As published in the Bismarck Tribune, 11/8/14

by Robert Wefald, Bismarck, former ND Attorney General and Judge

There are lessons to be learned by everyone from the resounding rejection of Measure 1 by roughly 2-to-1.

One lesson is legislators as well as state officials and judges/justices, all of whom took an oath to defend and support the Constitution of the United States, must comply with the Supremacy Clause set forth in Article VI, Section 2, which provides the “Constitution, and the Laws of the United States … shall be the supreme Law of the Land,” and that includes decisions of our U.S. Supreme Court interpreting our constitution and laws.

The people have clearly spoken. They do not want legislators enacting legislation, they do not want the governor signing legislation into law and they do not want the courts upholding laws that are contrary to U.S. Supreme Court decisions interpreting our constitution and statutes.

A second lesson is the people do not want to waste their tax dollars or time on needless litigation over laws that clearly are unconstitutional.

A third lesson is they do not want government at any level intruding into their personal lives.

A fourth lesson is just because legislators, officials and judges/justices feel strongly about a moral issue does not give them the right to unconstitutionally impose laws promoting those moral issues on people who do not share their interpretations of what good personal values should be.

A fifth lesson is the people promoting Measure 1 should stop clogging up the legislative process by trying to unconstitutionally impose their values on others.

A sixth lesson is they should really be trying to work and proselytize directly one-on-one with people. After all, if they cannot persuade people of faith or no faith to agree with them, it is wrong and futile for them to try to legally impose their views on those they cannot convert.

A final lesson is what is legally permissible in terms of abortion has been decided by courts at all levels over and over again. Stop trying to win this battle through legislation and litigation. Win it through persuasion.