Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Week of the Supremes

This past week saw two monumental Supreme Court decisions which produced the widest possible reactions I've ever seen on my Facebook wall. The Obamacare case was either the death knell for the rule of law, or a victory for the poor. The decision on gay marriage was either a triumph for love or the end of democracy in America. Chief Justice John Roberts was either a man who has grown in his time on the bench or a duplicitous traitor. My view:

1. My reaction to the ObamaCare ruling was resignation, since words, long ago, lost their meaning. It seemed clear to me that the court had no appetite to overturn the apple cart which contained this mess of a law and it would be willing to twist itself into linguistic knots to rule in favor of this monstrosity. This is what happens when laws are 2000 pages in length and written by think-tanks and other varieties of professional idiots. "Established by the states" becomes just about anything you want it to mean. So now the Supreme Court has now developed a new line of work, that of copy editor of poorly crafted legislation. 

2. In May of 2012 I published a blog entitled, "Having a Gay Rights Debate With Myself," where I began to hash out my thoughts on this subject. A year later I published a two-parter on the same subject, once again trying to outline my thinking on what for me has been a troublesome issue. Having already stated my view, I will not again rehash it. When the decision came down I wasn't surprised. It was strange because at once I believed that on the strict matter of recognizing the right to marriage for gay people, the court had gotten it right with respect to due process and equal protection, but at the same time, I couldn't help but feel that this ruling will not be the end of things. In my heart of hearts I believe that some in the vanguard of this sexual politics movement will not be satisfied until every vestige of opposition is humiliated. Tolerance will not be enough, neither will equality in
the eyes of the law. Nothing short of celebratory acceptance will do. If there is a sizable slice of the
population who doesn't care for gay marriage...they must be made to care. My son assures me that this isn't the case. He thinks it absurd to worry that a gay couple would deliberately ask a church to perform their wedding ceremony knowing full well that they will decline, therefore creating an opportunity for yet another legal challenge...this time going after churches and their bigoted view of scripture. He reminds me that during the debate Justice Kagen pointed out that certain Jewish Rabbi's refuse to wed Jews to non-Jews and are constitutionally protected in doing so. He tells me that my slippery slope concerns are overblown. I hope he's right. When I observe the unprecedented speed with which the gay rights and now transgender rights movement has advanced, he will have to allow me my ambivalence.

For me, this week has demonstrated one very good thing. In America, we endure great changes in policy and law with scattered placards and assorted bull horns. On the steps of the Supreme Court were partisans from both sides of these raging debates, and when the verdict was announced one side
cheered wildly, some shed tears of joy, while the other side felt crushed by the news, shedding their own tears. But there was no violence. Nobody killed anyone. Free citizens competing against each other in the realm of ideas played out their cases within the architecture of democracy, and accepted the results without bloodshed. In the grand sweep of history, this is a very new and very rare phenomenon. In this fact I take great pride and a great deal of comfort.