As we all know, the Supreme Court issued several decisions this week, some that made conservatives dance for joy and liberals wail, and others that did the opposite.
However, here’s something that a lot of people overlooked in this matter. Most of the decisions made this week took power away from a major entity, or at least made it so that said power could be taken away.
Consider the case of the girl in Texas who claimed that the affirmative action polices of the Texas public university system were racially discriminatory and henceforth unconstitutional in Fisher v. University of Texas. While the Court did not rule on the constitutionality of the matter, it has forced the Circuit Course to reconsider the case, on the grounds that the Circuit Court used improper judging criteria. Any use of race is now likely to be considered under the “strict scrutiny” standard–in other words, the reasoning for using race at all had better be magnificently compelling for it to stand up in court. Score one.
Next, consider Shelby County v. Holder, in which a county in Alabama challenged the Voting Rights Act’s mandate that certain areas have their voting laws be subject to federal approval due to discrimination that occurred around 50 years ago. The court found in Shelby County’s favor. While the court has not declared the VRA unconstitutional–as well it should not have–that it has essentially declared that discrimination must be proved in order for the national government to step in. Score Two.
Finally, consider the two gay marriage decisions. The Proposition 8 punt–I call it this because the case was thrown out on a technicality referred to as “the state of California refused to bow to the will of the people of California,” indicates they didn’t want to touch that decision yet. I can live with that–it gives us more time to prep for what’s probably coming ten years down the line.
Now, DOMA. The Defense of Marriage Act, declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, attempted to define federal marriage as one man and one woman. Fact was, it was eventually going to be declared unconstitutional, and it probably was unconstitutional. As for myself, I’m not sure why the government is in marriage business anyway. Marriage exists before the state, is the underpinning of the state and society–and those are two different things–and the government has no business defining what it means, because what it gives, it can also take away.
Now, you say, but shouldn’t the government support that sort of thing. Yeah, in a perfect world, it would. However, in a perfect world, the government wouldn’t need to. However, the question has now devolved back to the states, who can make their own calls–for the nonce. There’s reason why there’s a yet in the title.
For now, the Supreme Sourt seems to have espoused a more states’ rights and individual rights position. What does this mean? What it means is that states have the freedom to pursue their own positions on various matters with minimal federal interference for a bit. It gives us time to watch what happens in states like California and others that declare that homosexuals can marry. Will there be governmental action against those who refuse to give their assent to such unions? Will there be societal decline? I have my own answer to both questions, based on what I know about human nature–yes–but I’d like to see proof. So, for now, wait and see.
As to the future, this is all part of a larger movement of American society shifting more and more to individual desires rather than group goods. While this isn’t all bad, it’s shifting that way, and it cant last. People don’t work that way. Give it a decade, and either we commence the beginning of the endgame with the legitimization of polygamy or polyamory as being equal to monogamy, or we’ll see a reaction as people see the tide begin to rise. Either I way, I won’t panic as I watch how this ends–because I know how it all ends.
‘Til next time,
Lowell Van Ness