Sunday, May 3, 2015

Speed of social change

Quite interesting. I have long heard the proposition that abortion remains a roiling political issue because the Supreme Court preempted the political process. They got ahead of changing social views, in some ways making the issue worse not better.

This Is How Fast America Changes Its Mind by Alex Tribou and Keith Collins provides a graphical representation that supports that interpretation regarding abortion.

For each of six issues, it would be interesting to know the extent to which the action became legal in states through legislation or ballot versus through court decisions. The graph shows that same-sex marriage is legal in 36 states (25-30 states being the historical range where either the Federal government or the Supreme Court kicks in to resolve and nationalize the issue) and yet only 11 of those actually decided to legalize same-sex marriage through legislation or the ballot box. In other words 36 would seem to dramatically overstate the extent to which citizens have changed their mind.

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