I have been doing my best to digest the various end of term decisions by the Supreme Court and everything else that has been going on. After several months of what seemed like an incredibly trivial political landscape, chockablock full with phony scandals and bullshit news, the last couple of days have been a vivid reminder of the real stakes of politics -- who one can marry, whether one can be forced to bear a child against one's will, how many obstacles can be placed in the way of exercising the franchise, etc. And perhaps the most salient lesson all -- that control of the Supreme Court is paramount. I have not had a chance to give all of the Court's opinions this week a thorough reading and lawyerly analysis. But the beauty of blogging is that it does not keep me from having strong opiinions.
- On the VRA, I will subcontract the work to Scott Lemieux. It seems to me that Roberts has crafted an utterly cynical opinion, wholly lacking in anything resembling intellectual coherence, relying on an analysis of state "sovereignty" that I thought had been rendered obsolete at Appomattox, while seemingly reading the 15th Amendment out of the Constitution. I think it is fair to say that at least three of the Court's members -- Scalia, Alito, and Roberts -- are Republican activists by other means and completely comfortable with attempts to suppress the minority vote. It's a nearly 50-year old Republican tradition, and one which Roberts' predecessor cut his teeth on back in 1964. Clarence Thomas is even worse -- a man who identifies with the oppressor so completely that he is always willing to go a step further than even his white brethren when it comes to betraying African Americans. Thurgood Marshall must be spinning in his grave. Kennedy seems to need to parcel out his votes between both sides. Sadly, he chose the wrong side here.
I think that this decision will spawn all manner of mischief, but remain hopeful that in the end it will have the same impact as similar efforts in 2012 -- an angry and energized minority community, filled with determination to thwart those who have spit on the graves of those who sacrificed their bodies and their lives to win the right to vote.
- Kennedy did deliver the goods in the DOMA case. One gets the sense that the advocacy that was aimed squarely at him, really did the trick. I know there was quibbling about the analysis in the decision but I thought its theme of the dignity of same sex couples and its clear attack on the anti-gay animus that spawned DOMA was both moving and persuasive. Nothing drives the right crazier than the notion that their hostility to gays is simply another ugly form of bigotry with no place in a civilized country. See Scalia's opinion if you have any doubt of this.
The momenturm for marriage equality continues unabated. Soon between a third and half of all Americans will live in states in which same-sex marriage is recognized. At some point, the Court is going to require that these marriages be afforded full faith and credit throughout the fifty states.
If, that is, Democrats continue to control the presidency over the next couple of terms. If not, expect more Scalias, more Alitos, and more Thomases to fight a reactionary rear guard action that will complicate deeply the path to equality.
I don't have time to address the Texas filibuster, the passing of the (likely doomed) immigration bill by the Senate, Ed Markey's win in Massachusetts, and the very long layover of Edward Snowden, But feel free to comment on any of them.