"You seem ... to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so. They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps.... Their power [is] the more dangerous as they are in office for life, and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves." Thomas Jefferson writing as president of the United States. Wiki on the US Constitution
"Roberts invokes the founders of the US, writing, "Those who founded our country would not recognize the majority's conception of the judicial role ... They would never have imagined yielding that right on a question of social policy to unaccountable and unelected judges."
Notably, though, when seeming to address people who would celebrate Friday's decision, Roberts is clear that he does not have a personal problem with the outcome, just the process of getting there:
Many people will rejoice at this decision, and I begrudge none their celebration ...
If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today's decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it."
Chief Justice John Roberts in his dissent in Business Insider
"Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court," Scalia said.
"This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves."
The conservative justice railed against his fellow justices, calling the majority opinion "egotistical" and pointing out that the justices were a homogeneous group that didn't represent the people. As proof, Scalia pointed out that many went to the same law schools, and none were evangelical or protestant Christians." Scalia in his dissent in Business Insider
Jefferson wrote the first quotation above as an apology for his failure to act to stop Chief Justice John Marshall's successful grab for the power of judicial review for constitutionality of government actions or laws.
There is nothing in the constitution that grants the federal courts the power of judicial review, nothing. Jefferson's own view was that the three branches of the federal government were completely equal and that each was responsible for judging the constitutionality of its actions.
But, at the very end of the John Adams administration, Adams appointed a man named Marbury to be a justice of the peace in the District of Columbia. This is a minor office. James Madison, Jefferson's new Secretary of state declined to carry out the appointment and Marbury sued before the Supreme Court on the basis that Madison lacked the constitutional power to negate Adams' appointment.
John Marshall ruled in favor of Marbury (a fellow member of the defeated Federalist Party) and Jefferson, distracted by the business of his initial days in office as President, let Marshall's ruling go unchallenged and Marbury got the job.
This is how the federal courts came to be the "oligarchy" of which Jefferson complains.
I should make it clear that I am completely indifferent to the outcome in the same sex marriage case.
What bothers me is the assumption of this much power by the "five unelected lawyers." pl