Supreme Court Decisions

The greatest damage that the current Republican wave is causing is to the judiciary and support for basic human rights. McConnell’s refusal to allow Merrick Garland a hearing and the subsequent elevation of Neil Gorsuch is a harbinger of an even more conservative court. The appointment of arch-conservative and often marginally qualified or unqualified judges to the federal bench continues apace.

The Supreme Court just came down with two decisions: the baker in Colorado is allowed to refuse to create a wedding cake for a gay couple, and a lower court decision affirming an immigrant teen’s right to have an abortion was found to be moot, because the young woman had already had the abortion by the time the case was heard. That the case wiped out the lower court’s ruling means that teens in similar circumstances have no protection against the Trump administration’s zeal in making an abortion almost impossible to get.

The case of the baker seems clear cut to me: if you work in the public domain, you have to offer your services to the public. To me this case is no different from the refusal to serve blacks at lunch counters throughout the south until the Civil Rights Act made such behavior illegal. Supposedly embattled religious conservatives have done a bang-up job with the argument that their faith is under siege. The Court went along. Justice Kennedy apparently tried to craft a narrower opinion than the Court might have rendered, pinning the decision on the fact that a Civil Rights commissioner, at a hearing, called the baker’s views discriminatory. When you consider the weight of what gay and lesbian Americans have been called, the commissioner’s statement hardly moves the needle for me.

The young immigrant girl got her abortion, but her case provides no protection for the next young girl pregnant due to rape or incest or whatever who feels she can’t carry her pregnancy to term. The Trump administration is all-in on the argument that the power of the state can be used to control female reproduction. Welcome to the Handmaid’s Tale.


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