I wanted to write about recent Supreme Court rulings, some of which I found both disturbing and frankly baffling. Baffling because the justification for taking up at least some of the cases at all were specious. The words weren’t coming, so I have purloined others.Arthur noted the case that “involved a fundamentalist ‘christian’ web designer who thought one day she might like to create wedding websites, but her religious views compelled her to refuse to create a website for a same-gender couple, in the event she ever started providing such services, of course, and if a theoretical same-gender couple ever tried to hire her services. While the supposed ‘injury’ to her was entirely hypothetical, she sued the State of Colorado, anyway—well, the ultra-far-right ‘Alliance Defending [sic] Freedom [lol]’ sued on her behalf.Worse, “it emerged that, allegedly, someone named ‘Stewart’ had contacted her through her website’s contact form to try to hire her web services for his marriage to his ‘husband’. The problem was, the whole thing was faked by someone…. He also had no idea his name and details had been used in a Supreme Court case.” The guy, I’ve read, is mortified by this. And lower courts had passed on the case, but the Supremes took it on.The ruling allows for violations of well-established public accommodation laws. Specifically, advocates in Massachusetts and elsewhere fear the effect of the ruling. Will some business owners have the right not to serve customers based on personal or religious beliefs? See also the People for the American Way (PFAW) analysis.
Student loan forgiveness
This piece by the new Civil Rights Movement (NCRM) suggests that CJ John Roberts was intellectually dishonest in his opinion. In her dissent, Elana Kagan said as much. “From the first page to the last, today’s opinion departs from the demands of judicial restraint. At the behest of a party that has suffered no injury, the majority decides a contested public policy issue properly belonging to the politically accountable branches and the people they represent.”Teresa M. Hanafin addresses some of the questions Boston Globe readers s have asked. “Many of those folks, relieved of that debt, would have helped give the already robust economy a boost: They’d have been able to buy houses, pay down other debt, start small businesses, rely less on other social service programs. It even helps with their mental health.“Asking why today’s students should get debt relief when yesterday’s students didn’t is a question that could be asked about any social program. Do you think that elders nearing the end of their lives when Social Security was introduced in 1935 demanded that it be squashed because it hadn’t been enacted when they were 65? Should we stop giving food stamps to single mothers simply because most of us don’t need them?“I’m sorry, but that question is so typically American: If I can’t have it, then neither can you. Oddly, conservatives have that attitude only when it comes to poor and marginalized people; they’re fine with social welfare benefits such as tax cuts for wealthy households and corporations and subsidies for fossil fuel companies…”See also this PFAW piece.
College Affirmative Action
From PFAW: “Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a powerful dissent, joined by Kagan and Jackson. As she has in the past, she pointed out that the far-right justices’ assumptions around race are not based on reality: “
[T]he Court cements a superficial rule of colorblindness as a constitutional principle in an endemically segregated society where race has always mattered and continues to matter.
From Common CauseCommon Cause: ‘With Let-Them-Eat-Cake Obliviousness,’ Supreme Court Ends Affirmative Action for Colleges. “Sotomayor wrote that ‘the court subverts the constitutional guarantee of equal protection by further entrenching racial inequality in education, the very foundation of our democratic government and pluralistic society.'”
Some interesting responses have emerged. lawsuit Uses SCOTUS Affirmative Action Ruling to Go After Legacy Admissions. “’Harvard’s practice of giving a leg-up to the children of wealthy donors and alumni…must end,’ said one advocate.” Another fix: With End of Affirmative Action, a Push for a New Tool: Adversity Scores
The broader issue
The Weekly Sift covers these cases but also the broader context of a court bent on overturning precedent, disrespecting lower courts, and ahistoric rules of interpretation.Arthur: “The court’s far-right Republican majority is doing the one thing that Republicans have long pretended was an unpardonable sin: They’re legislating from the bench.”Vanity Fair also has taken the wider view: America Has a Supreme Court Problem. “Hillary Clinton tried warning us. Now, what do you do with a rogue Court?” In other words, she told you so.“A year ago, in their joint Dobbs dissent, justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and former justiceStephen Breyer wrote that the ruling ‘breaches a core rule-of-law principle, designed to promote constancy in the law…. It places in jeopardy other rights, from contraception to same-sex intimacy and marriage. And finally, it undermines the Court’s legitimacy.’”Did anyone REALLY believe the anti-abortion activists would leave the issue to the states? At least some Republican candidates are looking for a federal restriction.From NCRM:Well-known political expert, author, journalist, and CEO David Rothkopf is blasting conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court after their disastrous rulings…, warning the Court is now a ‘threat to democracy’ and suggesting some justices should be ‘considered’ for impeachment.” Specifically, Justices Alito and Thomas.
The “conservative” response
I’m always monitoring some of the rightwing media. The Daily Signal wrote a piece called To Gain Power, the Left Seeks to Destroy the Supreme Court, which I shan’t link to. The piece bashes Pelosi, the Squad (AOC, et al.).It seems, in a linked Tweet to suggest that there WASN’T a “stolen Supreme Court seat.” Obama wasn’t allowed by the Senate to replace Antonin Scalia (d. Feb 13, 2016) but djt could replace RBG (d. Sept 18, 2020).Perhaps off-topic, or maybe not: “Do you remember America?”
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