Amid the big gay kerfuffle last week, David Cole wrote in Outlook, not enough attention was paid to all the other Supreme Court decisions handed down of late. Because, Cole argues, those consistently sided with Goliath at the expense of David. While the last 70 years or so of Supreme Court decisions tended to empower an individual against a bigger entity — for example, ensuring an arrested person knows he or she has the right to a state-paid defense attorney, even if the police would prefer he or she not know about that — Cole, a professor of constitutional law and criminal justice at Georgetown University Law Center and a fellow at the Open Society Foundation, sees the current Supreme Court sliding in the other direction. So, he says, stop celebrating the downfall of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and look at what was lost.
The commenters mostly still want to talk about same-sex marriage, though!
Momo6 sees the DOMA decision as part of the overall power-friendly pattern — affluent, politically connected gay people won the fight:
The Supreme Court allowed gay marriage because it doesn’t really threaten the old order, in fact, it brings rich gay white men into the fold, who were always more conservative than progressive. What the power establishment in this country really fears is poor people, working class people, middle class progressives and policies that level the playing field — and so the conservative structure is trying its best to consolidate its hold on power as the resource pie shrinks. Keep the poor hungry and disempowered and they will do the bidding of the rich. That’s the philosophy of this Supreme Court.
meyou2041 agrees, but in an unexpected way, saying DOMA is in fact a Goliath victory over socially conservative and religious Davids:
David Cole is absolutely right, we have lost a lot of our freedom. The Supreme Court passing the rights for gays. We were a Christian nation at one time. That appears to be no more. It is interesting that the Judges swore in on the bible, but now they go against the bible in their duties. If someone wants to be gay that is their problem, but it should not be forced on the rest of us.
(PostScript is officially appalled that meyou2041 appears to have been forcibly gay married by the government. Someone should look into it.)
lallen2064 thinks the Obamacare ruling belongs in this category too:
Along with the items listed in this article, I would have included the SCOTUS decision to equate the mandate to purchase a consumer product (health insurance) to a tax as another dilution of personal liberty.
doctorfixit says it’s time to end the pretense that the Supreme Court can be above politics:
The federal judiciary needs to be dismantled. This feudal relic is un-elected, un-accountable, and un-American. Individual state courts with elected judges who are accountable can handle these matters. The federal judiciary is a political body, it needs to face political consequences, or it needs to be gotten rid of entirely.
dodaror says a newspaper piece of this length simply isn’t sufficient to explain the several cases the author wants to cover:
Several cases that were so complicated they made it all the way to the Supreme Court, yet Mr. Cole feels like spending a paragraph on each of them is enough to explain them and make a point. How much detail do you think he left out, ignored, misunderstood, or misrepresented? Sorry people, this is the worst form of reporting imaginable (it certainly isn’t journalism). If you want the facts, go to the Supreme Court’s website and read the decisions. You don’t have to be a lawyer to understand their decisions. If you rely on a reporter to give you information, then don’t be surprised when you find out you’re ignorant.
But dodaror later on seems glad Cole is covering it for a mass, incurious audience:
Where were the protests? It seems the only issues people cared about last week were DOMA and Prop 8. Hasn’t anyone learned that the government (in all its forms) is the master of the bait & switch? Here, here look at this hand: we are concerned about equality. Meanwhile, we will take away your other rights with the other hand. Yet, no one cared last week. Now you find out you’ve been duped again and decide to complain. It’s happened too many times now and we have access to too much information for people to claim: Well I didn’t know about it. WAKE UP & PAY ATTENTION!
Centsorsense says she is awake and paying attention. It hasn’t made much difference to be aware her rights a melting away:
As a woman of a certain age, and with problems that have periodically been protected as disabilities, I am acutely aware that I have fewer rights now than I did in 1999. I lost the right to dispute much of my medical care around 2005, I have lost the right to privacy at the OBGYN, thanks to the Texas legislature. I have lost the right to keep my job should I become ill. I have lost rights so often, I can’t even remember everything I have lost. I could get all frustrated or weepy, but it is a better use of my time to try to just keep fighting the good fight.
As long as the good fight isn’t a court case against a powerful institution, Centsorsense should do just fine.