Read the story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
By Cafe Hayek (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Last hour:
Last 24 hours:

Majority Rule Isn’t As Straightforward As Many People Suppose It to Be

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

(Don Boudreaux)


This new essay of mine at Law & Liberty was inspired by a curious Washington Post headline and report that appeared just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court announced the overturning of Roe v. Wade. A slice:

But there looms another issue, one grounded in the fact that Dobbs does not make abortion illegal. Dobbs merely returns to state governments the authority to restrict legal access to abortion. State governments are not obliged to so restrict. If the majority public opinion to which the Post refers can be interpreted, as seems reasonable, as opposition to at least some restrictions on abortion (rather than as opposition to some train of lawyerly reasoning), then it seems that the impact of the Dobbs ruling on policy will be minimal. State legislatures—which unequivocally are political institutions—will not restrict access to abortion.

Obviously, though, this last conclusion is too simplistic. While at least some restrictions on abortion might indeed be opposed by a majority of Americans as a whole, no state legislature is elected by Americans as a whole; each state legislature is elected only by citizens of that state. Even if a majority of Americans oppose restrictions on abortion, a majority of the citizens of one or more individual states—for example, Mississippi (the state that gave rise to the Dobbs litigation)—nevertheless might support such restrictions and vote accordingly.

This reality presumably plays a key role for the pundits and politicians who insist on the significance of the fact that at least some government-created restrictions on abortion are opposed by a majority of Americans. The presumption, apparently, is that if a majority of Americans support legal access to abortion, then this majoritarian preference should trump any contrary preference of a majority of voters at the state level.

Yet why? A foundational component of the constitutional structure of government in the United States is federalism. While reasonable people can, and do, debate over the proper allocation of power between the national government and the various state governments, few people not on the far Progressive left believe that state governments are, or should be, mere administrative units beholden to Washington. According both to custom and to the Constitution—its structure and the 10th amendment—each state government retains a vast scope to exercise police powers, as well as to choose the details of this exercise. States do so largely independently of each other and of the national government. Of course, majoritarian elections in each state determine which, and how, police powers are exercised. Why should, in any state, the preference of a majority of Americans prevail on the question of abortion over the preference of a majority of that state’s voters?

Even if, contrary to fact, we Americans were in widespread agreement that the best form of government is simple and unconstrained majority rule, this agreement would not settle the question of the level at which majorities should rule. If someone insists that abortion policy should be set nationally and determined by the wishes of a majority of American voters as a whole, that person is then an opponent of majority rule from the perspective of majoritarians who believe that the relevant polity for determining abortion policy consists of citizens of each state, or perhaps of citizens of each county, city, or town.


Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 866-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 866-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

HNEX HydroNano EXtracellular Water - Improve immune system health and reduce inflammation

Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen! 
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.
Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%!  (See Video)

Report abuse


Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Load more ...




Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.