Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Chief Justice is not amused....

I know Scalia is supposed to be the Court scold, but I think Roberts is just trolling us all here:

Respect for sincere religious conviction has led voters and legislators in every State that has adopted same-sex marriage democratically to include accommodations for religious practice. The majority’s decision imposing same-sex marriage cannot, of course, create any such accommodations. The majority graciously suggests that religious believers may continue to “advocate” and “teach” their views of marriage. The First amendment guarantees, however, the freedom to “exercise” religion. Ominously, that is not a word the majority uses.

Hard questions arise when people of faith exercise religion in ways that may be seen to conflict with the new right to same-sex marriage – when, for example, a religious college provides married student housing only to opposite-sex married couples, or a religious adoption agency declines to place children with same-sex married couples. Indeed, the Solicitor General candidly acknowledged that the tax exemptions of some religious institutions would be in question if they opposed same-sex marriage. There is little doubt that these and similar questions will soon be before this Court. Unfortunately, people of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today.”
For one thing, Rick Scarbrough and Ken Paxton and Greg Abbott need to take three deep breaths:  the reference to the candid acknowledgement of the Solicitor General was to whether an institution like Bob Jones University could lose its tax exempt status.  It was not a reference to taking away the tax exempt status of the Roman Catholic Church or the Southern Baptist Convention, either wholesale or one congregation at a time.

But the almost dog-whistle code in the Chief Justice's comment (or am I just hearing things because of the reaction in Texas?) is to Hobby Lobby v. Burwell, especially about the "exercise" of religion.  Because while the rest of us have always held with the doctrine that your freedom stops at the end of my nose (although threatening gestures can be an assault, or just knocking a tray with a plate of food out of someone's hand, which is a long way from the end of one's nose; so the aphorism is, like most, more apophatic than true), the Supreme Court dissent (and others) seem to think Hobby Lobby weighed in on the side of "exercising" religion against someone else.  In matters of religion, the Chief Justice seems to imply, you don't have a nose at all; at least, not one the Court need consider.

Which is pretty much what Hobby Lobby said; even if Kennedy didn't mean it that way.  It's not just Scalia who gets his opinions used against him, you see.  And it is more and more clear that we once had giants on the Supreme Court; and now we have minions and middle-brow thinkers.

Pity us.

But people of faith are not free to discriminate against mixed-race marriages in college campus housing, and haven't been since 1967, if not since 1964.  The arguments now really aren't any different than they were then.  So, again, I fail to see the relevance of the argument here; except for the handle Hobby Lobby v. Burwell gives to a club that is sure to soon be wielded; and at that point someone will have to learn the difference between a Constitutional right, and one granted by statute.

And then we'll see if the Supreme Court really understands what it did yesterday.

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