But the essential drama of democracy stems from the inherent tension between the natural rights of the individual and the constructed right of the community to enact laws that the majority deems necessary and appropriate. Natural rights are affirmed by the Declaration of Independence; The rule of the majority, limited and modulated, is built by the constitution. Timothy Sandefur of the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix, in his book The Conscience of the Constitution, rightly points out that the Declaration is not only chronologically before the Constitution, it is logically earlier. Because it “sets” the framework for reading the Constitution, it is the “conscience” of the Constitution: through the conditions under which the Declaration articulates the purpose of the Constitution – the aim is to “guarantee” inalienable rights – the Declaration indicates the norms according to which the correct exercise of inappropriate majority power must be distinguished. “Freedom,” Sandefur writes, “is the starting point of politics; The powers of government are secondary and derived and therefore limited. Freedom is the goal of democracy, not the other way around. Theoretically, each citizen has one vote at the ballot box. But the principle of majority rule means that some voices are not heard. At various points in our history, the lack of minority representation in government has allowed the majority to abuse minority rights: if not, it would be appropriate for all Americans to remember Madison`s claim in Federalist 47. “So if the federal Constitution were really burdened by the accumulation of power,” in the hands of leaders who constitute a minority or a majority of Americans, “no other argument would be needed to inspire a universal rejection of the system.” His case turned to the Supreme Court as the clouds of war descended over the world — a context, Feldman notes, that was not favorable to witnesses. They were pacifists; They were against U.S. involvement in World War I and any U.S. involvement in a war in Europe.

In June 1940, a few days before Nazi troops entered Paris, the court ruled by an 8-1 vote that the school district had the power to make the salute of the flag mandatory. In 1993, North Carolina introduced a plan for new electoral districts. Since there was only one electoral district in the entire state with a majority black population, the state boundaries were rejected. North Carolina is expected to submit a new proposal with two majority-black districts. In the 1890s, the Supreme Surt did not believe that constitutional amendments were against segregation. In the 1950s, however, people`s values changed and Supreme Court justices considered segregation unconstitutional. Expectations are particularly high among Trump`s critics within the Democratic Party and America`s educated elite, many of whom believe the president and his Republican allies in Congress pose an existential threat to equality and individual rights. And they believe that a victory between Trump and Republicans next week will inevitably undermine these central pillars of self-government by installing an undemocratic regime with a minority regime. Minorities – whether on the basis of ethnicity, religious beliefs, geographical location, income level, or simply as losers in elections or political debates – enjoy fundamental human rights guaranteed that no government or majority, elected or not, should eliminate. The acceptance of ethnic and cultural groups that seem alien, if not alien, to the majority can be one of the greatest challenges any democratic government can face. But democracies recognize that diversity can be a huge advantage. They treat these differences in identity, culture and values as a challenge that can reinforce and enrich them, not as a threat.

This can protect minority rights by preventing states from enacting unconstitutionally discriminatory laws. It also protects majority rule by empowering the federal government over individual states that disagree with the national majority. However, the double problem with such an attitude of deference is that majorities can be abusive and some issues are not properly decided by majority rule, because even in an open society there are issues – in fact many – closed. Then, in 1943, as a world war raged, the court ruled on another flag salute case involving Jehovah`s Witnesses to overturn the decision it had made just 36 months earlier. Justice Robert Jackson, who had not sat on the court when Gobitis was decided, wrote for the majority in a 6-3 decision: This was the Lincoln principle, articulated as a constitutional and even legal philosophy. Some argue that deliberative democracy thrives under majority rule.