"Constitutional rights may not be infringed
simply because the majority of the people choose that they be."
Westbrook v. Mihaly 2 Cal. 3d 756
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Reader comments about this quote:
Rights are inalienable / unalienable (depending on your religious persuasion, either a gift from God or simply a faculty of birth, or both), not Constitutional. The Constitution does not give rights, it only enumerates a few. As long as I don't infringe on another, I can do what ever I wish. If one chooses to live as a slave, the rights are not eliminated, only oppressed. If I choose not to participate in the theft of the noble labor's fruits, compelled compliance, license, etc., and stay free to express my rights, I must have knowledge and courage on how to express my rights, and de jure law in court, on the street, etc. "The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty." (James Madison)
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 4
    Re: mike, norwalk. I beleive the quote says that the government cannot infringe on any rights regardless of what the popular vote happens to be. example: freedom of speech should under never ever be taken away regardless of what people may vote. The constitution was to insure safe checks and balances for the government. People can be swayed, corrupted and mislead. The constitution was to prevent it to propagate to government.
     -- Daniel, Santa Clara, CA     
  • 1
    I think Mike makes a good distinction -- Constitutional 'rights' are natural-born, inalienable rights and not granted by the Constitution. If We the People did not already have these rights, we would not have had the power to even make a Constitution -- thus they cannot be taken away by any individual or collective body.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 2
    Daniel, how about liberty that is inclusive of the freedom form license, forced ID-health care, the servant compelling compliance of his sovereign master, etc. etc. etc.? (all not specifically mentioned in the Constitution. OR, how about government staying with in the bounds set certain by the Constitution? Now that the majority votes by ignorance and complicity, what happened to inalienable or even constitutional rights, what???
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 1
    This needs passed on to all the Liberals everywhere.
     -- Jim     
  • 2
    Looking back at the full opinion for this case, the footnote for the quote - which itself is quoted in the Court's opinion, was omitted. It does, however, give a footnote - fn 63 - that appears to expand on what the Court's meaning was for including the quote. Please see the following....


    Or the specific sections below. (Posted for those who do not wish to follow the link.)

    " More fundamentally, popular approval of electoral systems which infringe an individual's constitutionally protected right to cast an equally weighted vote is irrelevant. 'A citizen's constitutional rights can hardly be infringed simply because a majority of the people choose that it be. [Fn. omitted.]' (Lucas v. Colorado General Assembly, supra, 377 U.S. 713, 736-737 [12 [2 Cal.3d 797] L.Ed.2d 632, 647]; Jordan v. Silver (1965) 381 U.S. 415 [14 L.Ed.2d 689, 85 S.Ct. 1572] (concurring opinion).) fn. 63 "

    Footnote 63

    "FN 63. "'The protection of constitutional rights is not to be approached either pragmatically or expediently, and though the fact of enactment of a constitutional provision by heavy vote of the electorate produces pause and generates restraint we can not, true to our oath, uphold such legislation in the face of palpable infringement of rights. Thus, state racial legislation would unquestionably enjoy overwhelming electorate approval in certain of our states, yet no one would argue that this factor could compensate for manifest inequality. It is too clear for argument that constitutional law is not a matter of majority vote. Indeed, the entire philosophy of the Fourteenth Amendment teaches that it is personal rights which are to be protected against the will of the majority. The rights which are here asserted are the rights of the individual plaintiffs to have their votes counted equally with those of other voters .... [T]o say that a majority of the voters today indicate a desire to be governed by a minority, is to avoid the issue which this court is asked to resolve. It is no answer to say that the approval of the polling place necessarily evidences a rational plan. The plaintiffs have a right to expect that the cause will be determined in relation to the standards of equal protection. Utilization of other or different standards denies them full measure of justice.'" (Lisco v. Love (1963) 219 F.Supp. 922, 944 (dissenting opinion); quoted in Lucas v. Colorado General Assembly, supra, 377 U.S. 713, 737, fn. 30 [12 L.Ed.2d 632, 647-648].) "

     -- Louis, Stuart     
  • 1
    I only wish that ruling were still the law of the land. However, our republic has degenerated into a democracy, and we now have very few rights that cannot be voted away by majority vote.

    It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices. Chief Justice John Roberts writing for the majority in the Obamacare decision

     -- Durham, Birmingham     
  • 1
    I only wish that the statement by the U.S. Supreme Court had actually started off with, "Constitutional protections and natural born Unalienable Rights may not be infringed."
     -- Mary - MI     
  • 3
    As with many ( indeed, most ) of the historic, esoteric and debatable political-legal issues, I read with interest and decide to leave the Aye or Nay to others. ( That's the problem with not being hard right or left ... wafflers like me have to take what's given by the "I'm right and you're wrong" crowd. Hmmm .. maybe there's a message in that: democracy --- or indeed a democratic republic is ruled by the strong-willed ?
     -- Bobble, No. Ferrisburgh, VT     
    Our Declaration is not our Constitution, is it ! ? What is a contract without faith ? The agreement was made first, then the paperwork drawn up ! Faith first ! Interesting how Unalienable Rights take the back seat ! I like FREE BORN.
     -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
  • 1
    There's no great divide here that I see.
    Every human being is endowed by the laws of nature to protect themselves and what they have gathered from thieves and thugs by whatever means necessary.
    The choice of weapons only depends on the individual's capabilities, handicaps, and available resources.
     -- McFloyd, San Diego     
     -- jim k, Austin      
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