Democratic systems are designed such that the views of the majority prevail. I suppose the argument is that the majority will often make collectively sane and reasonable decisions. However what happens when the opposite holds true?
Enter the check and balance system ...
In US history, the independent judicial system has often served as moderator when the public seem on the path of insane and unreasonable. When the majority decides to oppress the minority, the court has stepped in to regulate.
The US Supreme Court under the leadership of Earl Warren was a great example. In 1954, the courageous men on the court held that "separate but equal" was at its core not equal, even unjust. At a time when racist laws were sanctioned by popular vote, the Warren Court held that African Americans had every right to receive the same education (and other human rights) as their white counterparts.
Say what you will about "judicial activism" but these brave justices were ahead of their time. Their rulings made "restricted" water fountains accessible to Black children; they made "restricted" medical schools accessible to Black students; they laid the groundwork for a Black president.
It is with the Warren Court in mind that yesterday's California Supreme Court decision is such a disappointment. The November vote by Californians to restrict marriage to opposite-sex couples was an oppression of the minority. It was insane, unreasonable and unjust.
Unfortunately, the California Supreme Court did not see their role as moderators of reason. Instead, in a spineless decision, they sanctioned the majority's decision to oppress and eliminate rights of their fellow citizens.
November's vote, coupled with yesterday's decision, makes California (the state and the citizens) the losers of the month!