A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Sunday, June 30, 2013

End of the Judicial Season

My blog has been down since the middle of last week. The blog’s IT Department (i.e., Anne Marie) diagnosed the problem as a surge protector that got burned, possibly by a lightning strike. A trip to the local office chain store and one new surge protector later, we’re back in business.

So, did I miss anything while I was gone? No? I thought so…

Just kidding! Actually, a revolution happened with several skirmishes being decided in the halls of the Supreme Court. Rulings on the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) capped the end of the court’s current session.

Actually, progressives had plenty of reason to fret that the court would rule the way they did. On Monday, the court ruled on affirmative action, but the actual ruling was overshadowed by reports from court observers about Chief Justice Roberts’ bench antics. They noted and gasped at such actions as Roberts rolling his eyes and shaking his head while Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg read the dissenting opinion. This could be attributed to Roberts' exercising his First Amendment rights (which I’m guessing he might know a thing or two about), but his actions constituted a serious breach of court decorum.

(I must admire that last sentence, with all of its court related terms: constituted, breach, and decorum. Sometimes I amaze even myself.)

Given this report, how could we the people hope for sane, intelligent rulings from the high court when the leading jurist in the nation behaves like a fidgety five-year-old forced to endure a long church sermon.

We also got our hopes up with reports that Justice Thomas woke up from his hibernation and actually SPOKE from the bench. Unfortunately, the reports weren’t true: he did not speak, but he did contribute to a dissenting opinion which means that at some point he was roused from his comatose state to type out a few words. Well, at least he didn’t roll his eyes.

That was Monday. On Tuesday, the Court invalidated the formula in the VRA that determined which areas of the country would be subject to federal scrutiny before they changed any of their voting rules. I can see the point of unfairness of subjecting these rules to these areas – mostly the southern states, all former members of the Confederacy — while giving the rest of the country a pass. The majority opinion argued that conditions in these areas had changed and the ergo the rules were no longer needed. (Ergo!  Wow! Where the hell did that come from?)

So yes, while conservatives rattled off statistics about African-Americans making great strides in the south, they ignored movements in the rest of the country where the VRA could be applied. Voter ID law in Pennsylvania? HELLO!

The court threw the controversy back into the laps of Congress, who being a Republican conservative majority at this time aren’t expected to do a damn thing. Yes, it was not just to apply VRA to just certain sections of the county, but why remove the incentive for Congress to correct this injustice by invalidating the law? 

Seriously, were the Justices up all night (Justice Thomas was obviously excused) thinking their decision through?

With this in mind, we had no right to expect anything but the court to uphold DOMA the next day. But, praise be, another surprise! The court ruled DOMA unconstitutional and refused to overturn a lower court’s suspension of California’s Proposition 8 banning same sex marriages.
The news was welcomed and cheered in the gay community and by other progressive thinking people! The reactions from conservatives and the religious right wing…yeah, well, you can’t make everyone happy. Their reactions will fill another blog entry, but for the moment we should celebrate.

Congratulations are in order for all of the soon to be newly-wed couples applying for marriage licenses in California, and congratulations to all other gay couples who have had the second class status stigma lifted from their shoulders. The rulings have been a long time in coming! Cosmos for everyone!

Yet, the combination of the two major rulings in the closing days of this court session might throw a damper on the party. Who’s to say that the given VRA is determined to be outmoded, that some douchebag legislator from the midwest won’t propose some outlandish and preposterous notion that only citizens who can furnish proof of being part of a heterosexual relationship will be allowed to vote? And there will be no VRA in place to overrule it.

Who’s to say, except me? Okay, penalize me one round of cosmos for suggesting such a thing. Either that or may God strike my new surge protector.

So one battle lost, one battle won, and the war for equal rights will continue.

(Thank you for reading. Can someone wake up Clarence Thomas and tell him he can go home now?)


Blogger David Jeffreys said...

Thanks, Anne Marie, for getting arteegee back in business. How else would I know about Clarence Thomas's hibernation and Robert's rolling eyes? BTW, did he write "Robert's Rules of Order"? Oh, I guess he's not quite that old.


June 30, 2013 at 10:14 PM  
Anonymous Janey said...

Hello RTG!

As a gay person, I am still second-class in the eyes of my government, despite the fact that "...we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..." I am thrilled that my fellow homosexuals who live in the 13 states that "allow" same-sex marriage can now obtain federal benefits. As I have just spent a weekend in Scranton (!) for a Faculty Union Conference, it is evident that our state has a long way to go. But 44 years after Stonewall -- when I was just a queer nine-year-old boy -- I am amazed at how far we've come; challenged by how far we still need to go...

PS: My thanks to your IT dept.!

July 1, 2013 at 8:33 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

I think you will like the article, and its comments :

July 2, 2013 at 9:54 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

It didn't copy the whole link. Just Google Truthdig, Robert Scheer's article on "More NSA hijinks".

July 2, 2013 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger todd gunther said...

Thank you David. Roberts may know court law and doctrine, but he should brush up on his etiquette.

Thank you, Janey. I am actually surprised that gay rights have come this far in 44 years. I know...from your perspective it seems like forever.

Thank you, Nadege for the article link. The posturing by the other countries may be admirable, if it is authentic. For all we know they have been spying on us all this time. No one has caught them yet....

July 3, 2013 at 6:40 PM  
Blogger Harpers Keeper said...

As a gay man I was pleased by the DOMA and Prop * rulings but both were overshadowed for me by the obscenity of the Voting Rights ruling. I blogged about this issue when the court agreed to hear the case and when the decision was announced. Roberts even noted in his opinion that the lack of recent non-compliance in the covered states was because of the enforcement by DOJ but still cites the lack of need as basis for ruling. There haven't been that many lynchings lately. Maybe it's time to strike down laws against murder.

As someone who has worked at the polls in recent election in Arizona, one of the states affected by the ruling, I can tell you equal access to voting for native people and hispanic citizens has been an uphill battle even with DOJ oversight. Now we entrust the protection of those rights to Gov. Brewer and her cohorts

July 15, 2013 at 11:47 PM  

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