A Tale of Two Donalds: Donald Trump and Donald Verrilli
There’s been a lot of talk about the role the Supreme Court played in last month’s election — but what about the current justices? According to one columnist, the present Court may have had just as much to sway voters as any future nominees would. In a thoughtful article by David Bernstein in today’s Washington Post, the George Mason University Foundation professor talks about the impact a certain marriage ruling may have had in cementing Americans’ choice for president.
Of course, plenty of ink has been spilled about Donald Trump’s unprecedented support from evangelicals — besting even churchgoing favorite George W. Bush. But some people are still wondering: what could have possibly made the controversial figure so popular with the country’s faith bloc? Bernstein argues that one issue motivated Christians more than any other to turn out and pull the lever for the real estate mogul. “To what can we attribute Trump’s success? The most logical answer is that their religious liberty was under assault from liberals, and they therefore had to hold their noses and vote for Trump.”
Using a laundry list of examples — from taking God out of the Democratic platform to prosecuting bakers for turning down same-sex wedding cake orders — Bernstein explains that it was the Left’s fierce assault on faith and conscience that drove evangelicals to the polls. The extremism, he argues, was never clearer than in the oral arguments of Obergefell – when, in one candid moment, the president’s top lawyer confirmed everyone’s worst fears: that the government would use a liberal ruling as a weapon to use against Christians.
Asked if religious schools could lose their tax-exempt status for holding a natural view of marriage, U.S. Solicitor Donald Verrilli was surprisingly honest. “…[I]t’s certainly going to be an issue. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is going to be an issue.” The admission was stunning, even to liberals. “If I were a conservative Christian,” law professor Eugene Volokh said shortly after, “(which I most certainly am not), I would be very reasonably fearful, not just as to tax exemptions but as to a wide range of other programs — fearful that within a generation or so, my religious beliefs would be treated the same way as racist religious beliefs are.”
Obviously, Bernstein believes, that concern was shared by millions of evangelical voters. In a country where 53 percent still define marriage as the union of a man and woman, the writing on the wall was clear.
“Many religious Christians of a traditionalist bent believed that liberals not only reduce their deeply-held beliefs to ‘bigotry,’ but want to run them out of their jobs, close down their stores and undermine their institutions. When I first posted about this on Facebook, I wrote that I hope liberals really enjoyed running Brendan Eich out of his job and closing down the Sweet Cakes bakery, because it cost them the Supreme Court. I’ll add now that I hope Verrilli enjoyed putting the fear of government into the God-fearing because it cost his party the election.”
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