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Santorum decries 'judicial tyranny' in Prop. 8 ruling

February 12, 2012|By David G. Savage
  • Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum and his family at a CPAC gathering.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum and his family at a CPAC… (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated…)

GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum described last week’s court ruling striking down California’s ban on same-sex marriage as “almost absurd” and an example of “judicial tyranny.”

“Judicial tyranny is a serious issue in this race and in this country,” he said Sunday. “We need judges who respect the people’s voice. Let the people decide with respect to what the Constitution says.”

Santorum's bid for the GOP presidential nomination surged last week after he swept Tuesday's nominating contests in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado.

David Gregory, host of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” cited last week’s ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals striking down California’s Proposition 8, and asked Santorum what he would do as president if the Supreme Court ruled that gays and lesbians had a right to marry.

“I would do the same thing I’d do with Roe v. Wade, which [is] I would seek to try to overturn it,” said the former Pennsylvania senator.

He did not go as far as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who said that as president he would “ignore” Supreme Court rulings that he strongly disagreed with.

Santorum said he was particularly troubled by the 9th Circuit ruling because the federal judges had overturned a state constitutional amendment approved by the voters. “Here, you have the 9th Circuit saying that a constitutional amendment is unconstitutional. I mean, that’s just, on its face, almost absurd,” he said. “The people of the state of California can decide what kind constitution they have.”

In a 2-1 decision, the 9th Circuit judges said that repealing gay marriage by a voter initiative violated the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

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