Supreme Court Grandstands on Marriage by Embracing Cognitive Dissonance
Two years ago, a majority of U.S. Supreme Court justices ruled it was a terrible thing for the federal government to dictate the definition of marriage to all 50 states. Despite the fact it was done lawfully via a bill passed through both houses of Congress, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996.
Two years later, the same five justices who made up that majority are poised to reverse themselves, and say it’s perfectly fine for the federal government to dictate the definition of marriage to all 50 states. Provided it’s done so unlawfully by judicial fiat this time.
Cognitive dissonance, meet the U.S. Supreme Court. U.S. Supreme Court, meet cognitive dissonance.
Wait, you’re old friends? You don’t say.
Listen, I don’t want to label last week’s Supreme Court hearing on the definition of marriage as nothing but political theater, but there was enough overacting and cheesy dialogue to inspire Michael Bay’s next film.
There’s laying it on thick and then there’s flat-out grandstanding. In this case, the latter was in full effect as the nation’s highest court called upon its fork-tongued spirit animal – who looks conspicuously like Pontius Pilate – for inspiration. The Supreme Court pretended to agonize over an unjust decision that everyone on both sides of the divisive marriage debate knows is coming with metaphysical certitude.
And if you believe that same court can quickly put an end to this matter by leap-frogging the previous 5,000 years of recorded human history concerning marriage, then you probably believe in pro-life Democrats, too. Quite the contrary, SCOTUS rendering a Roe v. Wade style opinion on marriage will touch off a full-fledged culture war that will make the abortion battles of the last 40 years seem tame by comparison.
There wasn’t built-in mass opposition to abortion in 1973 like there is now. Many evangelicals were silent at first on the issue until the formation of the Moral Majority. The church was still struggling to find its footing after the sexual revolution. Prenatal technology we take for granted today, which allows us to see life inside the womb three-dimensionally, was in its nascent stages back then.
But the pro-marriage side brings infrastructure to the table that has a record of 32 wins and only 4 losses in contested elections nationwide. And even in the four blue states it lost in 2012 it out-performed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in each case. This time the church is organized and mobilized in advance of the court weighing in, which is one of the major reasons why marriage referendums have perhaps been the most successful ballot issues of this era.
We also already know what redefining marriage does to religious freedom, as in the case of Aaron and Melissa Klein facing a $135,000 fine from the state of Oregon for refusing to bake a cake for a so-called “gay wedding.” If only the Kleins were an isolated incident, but sadly that’s not even close to being true. There are so many examples of similar religious persecution since SCOTUS rendered the federal Defense of Marriage Act, unconstitutional that citing them all would require a separate column unto itself.
So no one can claim they don’t really understand what’s at stake here. Nevertheless, there was perpetual swing vote Anthony “depends on what side of the bed I woke up on” Kennedy – the justice who has long been a champion of homosexuality – pretending to wrestle with the very dilemma he helped create with his Windsor opinion two years ago.
Either Justice Kennedy is so stupid he really didn’t know that by rendering DOMA unconstitutional he’d eventually be put in this very situation, or he thinks we’re so stupid we’ll actually buy his fake angst. Neither of these options is particularly encouraging, but at least one of them isn’t condescending and playing us for the fool.
Then there was the court’s resident Marxist, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who didn’t remind anyone of Meryl Streep when she referred to the anti-marriage side as “we” before correcting her Freudian slip.
We used to say “justice is blind,” but in the case of Justice Ginsburg that saying has evolved to “justice is blinded.”
The winner of the Nicolas Cage award for “best actor in a horrible movie” goes to liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, who had the chutzpah to lament “suddenly you want nine people outside the ballot box to require states to change (their marriage laws).” Right, because Justice Breyer and his ilk are known for judicial restraint and strict adherence to the separation of powers.
I mean, imposing unlawful and immoral edicts upon the will of the people would be so out-of-character for Justice Breyer. Next thing you know, they’re going to be asking Justice Breyer to let the state take your family’s century-old farm away because the city slickers need a new strip mall. Oh, wait…
Let’s also hand out “best supporting actor” to the liberal media. In numerous headlines they breathlessly described the justices as “divided” over whether or not to shake their fists at God. I suppose that could be true, if by divided they really mean “they’re not entirely sure yet how to deliver the fix but rest assured the fix is in.” Heck, maybe Chief Justice John Roberts will just rewrite so-called “gay marriage” as a tax, since he already set the precedent that the 16th Amendment makes government god.
It should be a terrible thing for me to be so cynical about an institution as sacred, valuable and foundational as marriage. Except I’m simply following the lead of our benevolent black-robed oligarchs, who appear to care as much about marriage as they do the U.S. Constitution. Which is to say not very much.
But look on the bright side: At least one of the justices seemed to get it. Justice Samuel Alito asked the snarkiest question of them all when he wondered aloud what’s stopping four lawyers from getting married under our new normal? The attorney for the anti-marriage side incredulously responded she “assumed the states would rush in” to stop something so tawdry and perverse from being permitted.
You don’t say.
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