At nearly the same moment that the California Supreme Court released its surprising, but correct, decision in upholding that state's recently ratified constitutional amendmentprotecting traditional marriage by defining the institution as between one man and one woman, President Barack Obama announced his nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Appeals Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Almost immediately, forces on both sides of the U.S. Supreme Court debate staked out their positions — many without having any idea what she actually stands for — and the battle over her nomination began. What is striking to us is just how far we have come from the system of government our Founders envisioned. The news media, pundits, elected officials, public interest groups and scores of Americans have their entire focus on the make up and actions of the judiciary — the third branch of government and the one the Founders intended to be the least powerful.

So here we are today with our freedoms hanging in the balance, with the future definition of terms like marriage and family awaiting validation or reversal by a handful of men and women whom, for the most part, we did not elect. Such is not the Republic we were meant to be, and frankly, such is a Republic that cannot sustain itself for long.

Regardless of the outcome of the nomination proceedings for Judge Sotomayor, our system of government — a Constitutional Republic — loses a cornerstone when the voice and will of the people as expressed through our Constitution is subject to the whims of an elite few.

The people of Virginia in 2006 voted overwhelmingly to protect the definition of marriage. Like California, our laws protecting marriage were at the mercy of the courts until Virginians were given the opportunity to amend the state Constitution to define marriage. Because of that vote a handful of judges should not be able to toss aside thousands of years of human history and the evidence of social science that marriage between one man and one woman is best for society, families and children.

Yet, we know it is very likely that at some point our marriage amendment, or another state's marriage amendment, will face scrutiny by nine people in black robes whom are accountable to no one — some of whom are no longer accountable to the document they swore an oath to uphold.

That is not the America our Founders envisioned.