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Sessions Blasts ‘Activist Judiciary’ on Gay Marriage in Alabama

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

An Alabama senator is decrying a federal court ruling effectively legalizing gay marriage in his state, after the Supreme Court declined to block it.  

“I think it’s an unhealthy trend that judges feel that they’re somehow reflecting popular opinion when first of all, it’s not popular opinion, and secondly, who are they to be ruling on cases based on how they feel,” Sen. Jeff Sessions, a senior Republican on the Judiciary Committee, told CQ Roll Call.  

His comments came amid legal confusion in Alabama, where many jurisdictions would not issue marriage licenses to same-sex partners, despite the action by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore said the licenses shouldn’t be issued.  

Sessions said he was backing the appeal to the Supreme Court. The high court has already accepted relevant cases from other states this term, which should eventually bring order to the chaos.  

“The attorney general of the state of Alabama has appealed, which I support. And while a number of courts have held the way [the] Alabama court has, others have not, and to me this line of cases … represents an activist judiciary,” Sessions said. “No Congress has ever passed a law or a constitutional amendment that would ever would ever have been thought to have this result.”  

“So, I think the proper role of the federal courts is to follow the law as it is, not as they wish it, might wish it to be,” Sessions said.  

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