Defense of change

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This week, our Supreme Court selectively and inconsistently applied its prudential “standing” doctrine to issue four “landmark” decisions – three of which incrementally advanced our Nation toward “a more perfect union”.

On Monday, having accepted the complaint of an academically unqualified plaintiff, it ruled that “affirmative action” admissions criteria at public universities require “strict scrutiny” – proof that considering race as a factor in admitting students is both “narrowly tailored” and the “least restrictive” way to further “a compelling governmental interest” (i.e., student body diversity).

On Tuesday, it disingenuously departed from well-established precedent by gratuitously granting “standing” to another dubious plaintiff that had not exhausted available remedies under the Voting Rights Action of 1965 (“VRA”) and by substituting its factual judgment for that of Congress.  By eviscerating the VRA’s “pre-clearance” requirement, the Court has reopened our elections to the chicanery of state/local authorities seeking to perpetuate “white” political power by denying minority voters “equal protection under the laws”.

On Wednesday, it ruled that the “one man, one woman” provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) violates the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments by needlessly discriminating against same-sex couples whose marriages are legally recognized in any of the several states.

Also on Wednesday, it held that proponents of California’s Mormon-backed “one man, one woman” Proposition 8 lacked legal “standing” to defend its constitutionality because – contrary to oft-repeated religiously-based arguments—“same-sex marriage” harms no one (nor undermines “traditional marriage”), much less “concretely injured” them.

In 2007, the walls of our public library were desecrated by religiously-motivated anti-gay placards – quoting Leviticus to virulently disparage LGBT families.  The Supreme Court has now disconnected the sacramental traditions of heterosexual (only) marriages from the constitutional privileges and immunities to which all citizens are equally entitled.

Thus, just as we now have a bright new public library, so too dawns a bright “new day” for gay rights.

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