Friday, June 26, 2015

The Man of the Hour

Admittedly, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is a pretty staid guy.

But the Reagan Court appointee - the last Supreme Court justice to be confirmed unanimously by the Senate - is also a fair-minded guy.  He knew the stakes of the health care law possibly being invalidated, and he had a states'-rights perspective toward why the subsidy clause should be upheld, which allowed him to vote with the majority that saved the Affordable Care Act.  But as the swing vote in today's decision legalizing same-sex marriage from sea to shining sea, he recognized the value of marriage and the profundity of the institution where love and respect are involved.  His opinion on behalf of the majority in the 5-4 ruling reads as follows:  
"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."
Chief Justice Roberts joined the ultraconservative minority, and the minority dissents are absurd bordering on the idiotic:  Roberts:
"The premises supporting this concept of marriage are so fundamental that they rarely require articulation. The human race must procreate to survive. Procreation occurs through sexual relations between a man and a woman. When sexual relations result in the conception of a child, that child’s prospects are generally better if the mother and father stay together rather than going their separate ways. Therefore, for the good of children and society, sexual relations that can lead to procreation should occur only between a man and a woman committed to a lasting bond."
Obviously not a fan of "The Brady Bunch," about a "traditional" marriage that procreated no children but united three children each from previous marriages to form one family.  Like Mike and Carol would really decide to have a seventh child?  Didn't they have their hands full enough with Bobby?  
Or this from Clarence Thomas, considered by the first President Bush to be the most qualified person to succeed Thurgood Marshall, even though Thomas was probably 261st in line based on his qualifications at the time:
"In our society, marriage is not simply a governmental institution; it is a religious institution as well. Today’s decision might change the former, but it cannot change the latter. It appears all but inevitable that the two will come into conflict, particularly as individuals and churches are confronted with demands to participate in and endorse civil marriages between same-sex couples."
Wow, what a scary concept - separation of church and state!
And now to the Jersey Boys.  Antonin Scalia, your thoughts?
"The strikingly unrepresentative character of the body voting on today’s social upheaval would be irrelevant if they were functioning as judges, answering the legal question whether the American people had ever ratified a constitutional provision that was understood to proscribe the traditional definition of marriage. But of course the Justices in today’s majority are not voting on that basis; they say they are not. And to allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation."
So Citizens United didn't kill democracy, but this did?
And finally, the man from my hometown, whose residents take great pride in having known and met at the local supermarket, the dishonorable Samuel Alito, Jr.:
"By imposing its own views on the entire country, the majority facilitates the marginalization of the many Americans who have traditional ideas. Recalling the harsh treatment of
gays and lesbians in the past, some may think that turnabout is fair play. But if that sentiment prevails, the Nation will experience bitter and lasting wounds."
I'm from New Jersey.  I'm part Italian.  I can't bear the thought of having that much in common with these two, and a hometown connection to one of them at that.
Wait.  I'm spoiling Justice Kennedy's moment in the sun.  Then again, maybe I'm not.  Maybe I'm only demonstrating how thoughtful he is by highlighting the moronic utterances of those justices who are much less so.  Thanks again, Justice Kennedy, for your ruling today. :-)     

No comments: