Friday, June 26, 2015

Hurrah Hurrah, Yeah Whatever

I’m actually not in a celebratory mood today about the Supreme Court’s same-sex-marriage decision. I can’t believe Roberts’ dissent:
Roberts wrote that the decision showed “disrespect” for the democratic process and that the American people should be able to decide for themselves whether they want to accept this huge social change. “Five lawyers have closed the debate and enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law,” Roberts wrote. “Stealing this issue from the people will for many cast a cloud over same-sex marriage, making a dramatic social change that much more difficult to accept"... “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,” he wrote. “But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.”
Can’t his reasoning be applied to integration, interracial marriage and women’s suffrage? If the people want to continue debating whether a certain population has the same rights as everyone else, shouldn’t they be allowed to continue the debate indefinitely? As the current conflict over the Confederate Flag shows, many people would still be debating whether African Americans should have equal citizenship rights and equal protection of the laws as whites have. Allowed to continue indefinitely, that debate would still be going on, without the resolution provided by the ratification of the 14th Amendment. It’s kind of clear that the striking down of Prop 8 falls under “No state shall make or enforce any law,” so why does Roberts say that “the Constitution had nothing to do with it”? I’m bothered by that wording. I would’ve expected Roberts to break Conservative ranks with this ruling as he did with the ruling on Obamacare. Even I can see the applicability of “No state shall make or enforce any law” to this issue. So if the ruling had gone the other way, wouldn’t it affect all of the equal-protection interpretations of the 14th Amendment retroactively? I’m really at a loss for Roberts’ reasoning. I hope there’s a public reaction to it. I hope he’s questioned intensely by the media about his reasoning. But the celebration of the decision will probably drown out his dissent and he’ll never be called to question for his reasoning on this issue.

Scalia, of course, could be counted on to trivialize the entire issue by saying that the opening sentence of the opinion sounded like a fortune cookie. With Scalia’s focus on the Signers’ intent in his interpretations of the Constitution, I think he must even be uncomfortable with the fact that women can vote and he would probably prefer that, in population tabulating, an African American be counted as three-fifths of a person. Yes this is a straw-man argument, but if one follows his logic, how is it inappropriate? The Founding Fathers were racist chauvinists from today’s point of view. Applying their intent now produces anachronisms. Even Kennedy’s oral argument in April regarding the marriage issue is difficult to understand. “‘The word that keeps coming back to me in this case is millennia,’ he said then, referencing the amount of time societies had considered marriage to be only between a man and a woman.” Even I, with my relatively feeble grasp of the law, can refute that reasoning with the argument that, at the time of Abolition, slavery had been an acceptable institution for millenia. If longevity proves the worth of an institution, entrepreneurs should feel free to set up slave auctions again, both online and brick-and-mortar. Why not? Follow the reasoning and that’s where it leads.

#Rachel #Maddow, if I shine a big searchlight up into the night sky that projects a silhouette of..umm... a big pair of glasses, would you come to our aid and explain Roberts’ dissent to us? We citizens would be very grateful.

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