Don't get me wrong. I'm thrilled a Reagen appointee overturned that hateful garbage on the reasonable basis test.
But let's remember a few things about the Roberts Court, the Supreme Court and the 9th Circuit before we going dancing a jig.
The recent analysis by the NYTimes of the Roberts Court should serve us fair warning of how this decision will likely play out, even with the addition of a new Justice Kagan:
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. emerged as a canny strategist at the Supreme Court this term, laying the groundwork for bold changes that could take the court to the right even as the recent elections moved the nation to the left.
The court took mainly incremental steps in major cases concerning voting rights, employment discrimination, criminal procedure and campaign finance. But the chief justice’s fingerprints were on all of them, and he left clues that the court is only one decision away from fundamental change in many areas of the law.
Whether he will succeed depends on Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the court’s swing vote. And there is reason to think that the chief justice has found a reliable ally when it counts.
An LA Times analysis of last term's decisions reiterates the danger of the misperceptions the public and the S.Ct. hold of the 9th Circuit.
From prisoners' rights to environmental protection, laws set by the West's powerful appeals court were overturned in 15 of the 16 cases reviewed this term by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The reversals affect a broad range of civil rights and business practices challenged in the nine states and two Pacific territories covered by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The justices shot down four rulings seen as protecting nature against industrial hazards and five cases asserting claims by convicts that their rights were abused.
Judicial analysts attribute the high reversal rate at least partly to the 9th Circuit's reputation as a liberal-dominated bench, even though more recent conservative appointments have diluted that influence. Experts, including former law clerks, say the Supreme Court justices are more inclined to look over the shoulders of the 9th Circuit judges they suspect of favoring the underdog.
The high court historically reverses the majority of all cases it reviews -- 76% so far this term, with three decisions still pending. Legal analysts say that's because they seek to correct what they see as erroneous interpretations by lower courts or to settle conflicting views among the circuits about a law's meaning.
As a former Congressional staffer who watched the S.Ct. devalue itself with Bush v. Gore ten years ago, lowering themselves from what I then viewed as the apolitical branch, into the ideological trenches and ignoring the plain text of the Constitution, yesterday's decision does not give me hope...it gives me great fear.
I went from Congressional staffer to law school. I took and passed the bar in Arizona, before SB 1070, but not before I saw white immigrants to AZ use the law to devalue, attack and demean the Hispanic and Native American residents who had been in Arizona long before the now empowered whites.
Law and legal victories are a fiction. The law is not immutable. There is no "Justice" nor "Liberty" nor "Equality". Not in America anyway.
The law is written by politicians bought and paid for by campaign contributions from large corporations, special interests, and the independently wealthy.
From these bought and paid for politicians in both parties, judges are appointed...for life, to create the illusion of judicial independence.
But let's take a quick look at a recent case to show just how independent and ethical these appointees are...the BP spill:
A federal judge who overturned the Obama administration's initial six-month moratorium on deepwater oil drilling has refused to disqualify himself from the case.
Several environmental groups had asked U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman to withdraw from the case because of his investments in several oil and gas companies. Feldman refused in an order issued Friday and posted Monday.
Law is nothing more then the political history of the moment in time in which that law was passed. It is not necessarily just or right.
Judges interpret those laws, filtered through their economic, political and cultural influences.
Statistics show how often the 9th Circuit is overturned. The Roberts Court is 5-4 the wrong way.
I have no faith that this Court will follow the Constitution's text and spirit when such decisions do not comport with their personal world view.
And I certainly don't trust Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Kennedy or Alito to make tough decisions like Dred Scott, Loving v. Virginia, or even Lawrence v. Texas, to create a more equal country where all citizens are equal under the eyes of "the law".
Yes I am a cynic, but that leaves less room to be disappointed when those I believe will do the worst, do in fact, do the worst.
Nor do I trust our current President to do the right thing for our fellow citizens. From this mornings Washington Post:
The president "has spoken out in opposition to Proposition 8 because it is divisive and discriminatory. He will continue to promote equality for LGBT Americans," the White House said.
But Obama does not endorse gay marriage. As a candidate for president, he consistently said marriage should be reserved for a man and a woman.
"I believe that marriage is between a man and woman and I am not in favor of gay marriage," the candidate said just days before the election in 2008.
Instead, Obama supports civil unions, the extension of legal benefits to gay couples, which he says provide important rights to gays and lesbians in their everyday lives. Never mind that many gay activists view civil unions as an unwelcome half-measure that undermines efforts to secure the right to marry.
With civil unions, same-sex couples "can visit each other in the hospital if they get sick . . . they can transfer property to each other," Obama said. "If they've got benefits, they can make sure those benefits apply to their partners. I think that is the direction we need to go."
For those of us engaged in the pie fight, one more reason to throw banana creams.