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Supreme Court shock

June 20, 2020

Monday, the Supreme Court not only rewrote the 1964 Civil Rights Act to redefine the ban on job discrimination by sex to include “gender identity” (setting the stage for endless nuisance lawsuits targeted at religious institutions), but they also rejected a number of cases in which citizens were appealing government interference with their Second Amendment rights.

For instance, the SCOTUS rejected an appeal by a New Jersey man who services ATMs and carries a lot of cash who understandably wants to carry a gun, but the local government requires that he name a specific threat to justify his need for one (as if he knows the name of the person who will eventually pop up and try to rob and likely kill him.) If you read the Second Amendment, you’ll notice that nothing in it says that citizens must justify their specific need for a gun to the government before they’re allowed to keep and bear one.

As the (sadly only) three Justices who dissented from the gay rights ruling noted, this Court is only too ready to pull new rights out of the ether when they involve abortion or LGBTQ issues, but they refuse to defend the clearly-enumerated Constitutional right that the Founders listed second in the Bill of Rights. It’s especially disappointing that alleged “conservative” Justices such as John Roberts and even Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch went along with the liberals in these activist rulings.

Why is it that so many so-called “conservative” Justices morph into liberals after just a short time on the SCOTUS (or as the media call it when a judge goes from respecting the text of the Constitution to rewriting laws from the bench, they "evolve”)? Some of it might be peer pressure, or just living inside the upper-crust liberal DC bubble. Some of it might also stem from the fact that ALL of our Supreme Court Justices attended the same handful of Northeastern Ivy League colleges (every one of them spent time at either Harvard or Yale) and were taught by the same liberal professors. While a few were able to resist the indoctrination, there is no real “diversity” on the Court. For instance, there’s not a single Justice who was schooled in the South or West, and can understand the needs of farmers or ranchers who bring cases to the Court.

Law Prof. Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit sums up the problem in a recent book called “The Judiciary’s Class War.”

Reynolds argues that the problem with the judiciary isn’t political but a class divide. Since the judiciary is the only branch of government that requires members to attain elite schooling, it’s dominated by people from upper middle class, elite backgrounds. Once they’re on the bench, they tend to favor things that people of their class embrace (abortion, gay rights, birth control, open borders, etc.) and even invent new “rights” to promote them, while marginalizing the real rights that working class Americans care about, such as freedom of religion, property rights, gun rights and honest apportionment of legislators to represent legal citizens.

Victor Davis Hanson also has some related thoughts about how “class, not race, divides America”…

SCOTUS decisions like Monday’s will make many conservatives despair of ever being able to get America back on the right track of respecting the Constitution and laws as written by elected Representatives of the people. But if you give up and stop voting, then you’ll guarantee the election of people like Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, who will put their lead feet on the accelerator to take America over the cliff.

A Republican majority in both Houses and the reelection of President Trump would at least set the stage for passing legislation to replace the legislation concocted by the courts, and to keep allowing Trump to nominate conservative judges to lower courts who might someday be on the Supreme Court. And of course, to nominate SCOTUS judges who will actually defend the Constitution. So far, he’s batting .500 on that, which is .500 more than we’d ever get under Joe Biden.

In a landmark case, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 on Monday that the Title VII ban on sex discrimination in hiring from the 1964 Civil Rights Act also applies to LGBTQ people, expanding gender employment protections to include gender identity.

Justice Gorsuch wrote, “An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”

Justices Alito, Kavanaugh, and Thomas dissented, with Alito arguing that "There is only one word for what the Court has done today: legislation,” and that’s up to Congress, not the courts. Alito wrote, “The Court tries to convince readers that it is merely enforcing the terms of the statute, but that is preposterous. Even as understood today, the concept of discrimination because of ‘sex’ is different from discrimination because of ‘sexual orientation’ or ‘gender identity.’”

I think that most people would agree that it isn’t fair to fire someone from a job just because of their sexual orientation. However, the SCOTUS, as has become its habit in cases that push the envelope of LGBTQ rights, has once again thrown a monkey wrench into the system without making provisions to settle the inevitable chaos that will ensue.

For instance, when they “discovered” a hitherto unknown right to same-sex marriage in the Constitution, they added some vague words about how this shouldn’t be construed to trample First Amendment religious protections. But the ink was barely dry on the ruling before radical gay activists, who had argued that religious people had no reason to oppose it because it would never affect them, were gleefully filing federal lawsuits to force religious florists and bakers to cater same-sex weddings or else face bankrupting fines and even jail.

And now, the SCOTUS has done it again. Most people might side with the specific plaintiffs in this case, who were fired from jobs such as skydiving instructor and funeral director for being gay.

But what about churches that don’t want to hire, say, a cross-dressing gay or trans youth minister because that violates their Constitutionally-protected religious beliefs? The Court has once again kicked open the door for countless drawn-out, expensive lawsuits, eating up church funds that could have been spent on things like helping the poor, and which will now have to go to lawyers. And all because the Justices can’t resist upending the long-established social order without a thought to providing clarity to head off the negative consequences. They’re like someone who throws a lit match into a fireworks factory, then walks away saying, “I’ll let the rest of you sort this out.”

Happy Juneteenth

June 19, 2020

Happy Juneteenth, and if you don’t know what that means, you probably will soon. Juneteenth (for “June 19th”) has been a popular holiday throughout the South for well over a century, but the current racial tensions have politicians and corporations around the nation suddenly jumping on the bandwagon to declare it a national or state holiday or paid leave day, only about 150 years late. Here’s what it’s about:

On June 19, 1865, Union Army Gen. Gordon Granger read General Order No. 3  to the slaves in Galveston, Texas, which informed them that they were free and now had “an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property, between former masters and slaves.” This was 2-1/2 years after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

Juneteenth was a Texas celebration for many years, starting in 1866, but ramping up in 1872, when former slaves bought 10 acres of land in Houston to create Emancipation Park, the city's only park and swimming pool open to African-Americans, and the site of a big annual Juneteeth celebration. It gradually spread throughout the South, but most people outside the South knew very little about it until very recently.

Ironically, Juneteenth has finally entered the national consciousness during a summer when the coronavirus has killed mass public gatherings, so the usual barbecues and concerts will mostly be restricted to virtual events, backyards and close family this year.

I know some people will be cynical and call the sudden push for Juneteenth pandering or politics, but as someone who grew up in the South, I can assure you you’re lucky to finally discover Juneteenth. It’s a great holiday that celebrates freedom just as much as the Fourth of July does, and while it’s considered an African-American holiday, it’s something that every American should celebrate. Anything that can get us all back into public parks, celebrating together with music, fireworks, and barbecues, and remind us that people of all races are free and equal in America, is more than welcome now. It's necessary.