Does the majority have the right to take rights?

Senior Circuit Judge Michael Daly Hawkins, left, Circuit Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt, center, and Circuit Judge N. Randy Smith hear arguments during a hearing in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Monday, Dec. 6, 2010, in San Francisco. The federal appeals court in San Francisco was scheduled to hear two hours of arguments Monday about the voter-approved ban known as Proposition 8. A trial court judge overturned the measure as a violation of gay Californians' civil rights in August. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, Pool)

December 6, 2010 4:11:11 PM PST
A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals began hearing arguments on the constitutionality of Prop 8, the voter-approved California initiative outlawing gay marriage.

Proponents of Prop 8 are seeking to overturn a ruling by Federal Judge Vaughn Walker that held that the initiative is invalid under the federal constitution. In Judge Walker's opinion, it violates the equal protection clause. Proponents say that the people, those who voted to pass the initiative, should not have their will tossed aside by one "activist judge."

No matter how the panel rules, this issue can conceivably continue for another year and a half, as the losing party will have the option of appealing to the full 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court.

Question of the Day: Should the majority by initiative have the right to take rights away from the minority by referendum?

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