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I just listened to the clip of Chief Justice John Roberts arguing with anti-DOMA lawyer Roberta Kaplan yesterday about whether there should be "heightened scrutiny" for issues relating to gay rights.
I'm not a lawyer, so I can't really argue the legal points on either side. But I'm an educated American and there was no missing the logical problem inherent in Roberts' statements.
Essentially, his argument was that the gay rights movement has gotten so powerful and popular it no longer needs any extra protection. He talked about politicians falling all over themselves to sign on to marriage equality (of course, he ignored the fact that only three Republicans out of 277 in Congress have signed on so far).
Under this logic, almost any group that gathers enough support and strength to make it to the Supreme Court to ask for protection against discrimination is no longer in need of such protection. He was saying, in essence, once you're that powerful, people won't be able to discriminate against you.
Of course, we know that's not even close to the truth.

Every group that has finally won rights, whether it be the Suffragettes or feminists working for women's rights or African Americans fighting for their civil rights, has had to build strength over time and reach a threshold of support that tips it into the consciousness of the American people, the consciousness of our elected officials and the consciousness of the courts. Before a group gets to that tipping point, it is extremely difficult for it to get the legal or legislative remedies it needs to protect the rights of its members.
Even after that point, discrimination is still rampant against members of the group, but there are finally some avenues for fighting that discrimination.
If Roberts were correct, then we would never have needed civil rights legislation because, after all, with all that power Martin Luther King garnered for civil rights, discrimination against African-Americans would be dead: it would be too embarrassing and socially unacceptable for someone to utter racist words, openly refuse to hire a person because of race, or refuse to admit a person to a school or club or restaurant because of race. Yet, discrimination continued long after the court and legislative actions. Yes, over time it has diminished, yet even now, almost half a century after the passage of the civil rights laws, we still see plenty of instances of racial discrimination.
Like so many conservatives, Roberts accuses the gay rights groups of demanding "special" privileges, rights that other non-gay citizens don't have. He completely misses (perhaps purposely) the idea that what is really being asked for is equal rights -- nothing special, just the same opportunities, benefits and responsibilities that any other citizen has. The only special aspect of this is that gay rights groups are asking that the special discrimination, imposed by federal law, be removed.
In general, I'm optimistic about the outcome of this case. It seems to me that Kennedy expressed a fair degree of sympathy with the arguments against DOMA.
But Roberts' arguments worry me greatly in terms what decision might come down on the Voting Rights Act case considered earlier in the term. I think Roberts' logic (or lack thereof) is probably similar in both cases and I fear for our democracy if he and the conservative judges on the Court are able to muster a majority in that case.

Originally posted to Fruit of the Date Tree on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 12:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It is--depressing is too mild a term-- (29+ / 0-)

    appalling to see the lack of reasoning ability displayed by a man who is one of the nine judges of last resort in this country. Perhaps he's being deliberately disingenuous, which makes it even worse.

    Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

    by peregrine kate on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 12:09:00 PM PDT

    •  I'm not sure either. I always wonder about that (25+ / 0-)

      with a person like Roberts.
      But mainly I feel that people like Roberts and Alito lack the ability to empathize with others and are so insulated from the problems other people experience that they never quite get what the problem is. It's like Mitt Romney -- kind of, "I'm fine, so there must be something wrong about you that you're not." It's a endemic Republican disease, IMO.

      While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

      by Tamar on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 12:15:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I so agree, it does seem that way (5+ / 0-)

        so obtuse to think LBGT people have been completely accepted and have it easy now in the US, no more descrimination.

        Such people think that their experience in life is reality.
        They can't crawl into other people's shoes.

        It is a mistake for such people to be put in power on SCOTUS.

        I think this is what Obama meant when he said he wanted to appoint SC judges who had "empathy". Republicans mocked that.

        He wants people who CAN crawl into others shoes, who are  broadminded. Who might take into account that they themselves live a privleged lifestyle and may have the most accurate bead on where society in general is at.

        •  Yes -- not empathy in the goo-goo way the (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JBL55, alice kleeman, jplanner

          Republicans made it sound, but an openness to understanding the lives of other people. That doesn't mean their ruling can always be in accord with their feeling, however. I know I read about a ruling from a judge recently in which the judge was totally in tune with what one side was saying but had to rule against them because of the law.

          While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

          by Tamar on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 07:45:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  true, and that is a judge's job. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            but at other times the ability to crawl into another's shoes--say by even GETTING that discrimination against LBGT people is still rampant so not arguing otherwise--really informs the decison making and actually is important to it.

            Even in this case. If Roberts mistakenly thought, as he seems to (astoundingly), that LGBT people don't need protection, he may not put them in the right judicial catagory.

            Justice Sotomayor talks about this. When asked what she thought Obama meant by empathy in nominating her, she called it the abilty to understand lives not just like your own, an openmindedness to the possiblity of other's experiences.

            I am appalled that Justice Roberts could argue (with a straight face) that LBGT people have full power.

      •  I think it's also a subconscious fear. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tamar, alice kleeman

        Those in the majority take their entitlements so much for granted that the idea of anyone even approaching equality is anathema to them as a visceral level they can't even articulate.

        "The fears of one class of men are not the measure of the rights of another." ~ George Bancroft (1800-1891)

        by JBL55 on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 09:09:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They see rights as a bucket they access (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JBL55, Tamar, radical simplicity

          If all current rights are in this bucket and someone else is asking for rights, there's no place for them to come out of except the bucket.

          What they don't understand is that rights are not a bucket.  Rights are an ever-expanding pool.  If someone else is allowed to come into the pool, then the pool just gets bigger.  Everyone fits.  There's always room for more.  And because of that, their rights are not diminished by any one else's equality.  

          But it's very hard to get them to see this.

          History should teach humility and prudence, but America doesn't seem to learn. I've never seen a virgin who loses her innocence so often. -- Gordon Wood

          by stormicats on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 10:45:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes -- to them it's a zero-sum game. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tamar, radical simplicity

            If others gain rights, it must be bad for those who already have them.

            Very sad view of life for them, and monstrous for those aspiring to full citizenship.

            "The fears of one class of men are not the measure of the rights of another." ~ George Bancroft (1800-1891)

            by JBL55 on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 10:50:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Roberts is correct, actually, in part (17+ / 0-)

      The test of whether a group needs the protection of strict scrutiny is whether the group is sufficiently powerful to protect its own interests.  He is right on that point.

      Where he goes wrong is that few if any minorities are that powerful.  LGBT communities aren't even close.  Maybe if state legislatures averaged 10% open LGBT membership and there were adequate laws in place there might be a point here as a factual matter but we are nowhere near that.  In fact the court has before it a solid record demonstrating that the LGBT community is under represented in positions of power and is the most targeted minority for hate crimes except Native Americans. I actually wrote an amicus brief for the ninth circuit on this in the prop 8 case.  Not sure if that's part of the Supreme Court record though.  

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescindibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 07:43:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ha even women (9+ / 0-)

        who are 51% of our population and usually even a higher percentage of those who vote in elections do not have the power.

        Only 18% of Congress is female. Equal Rights Amendment did not pass. We struggled to pass the Violence Against women act. This overwhelmingly MALE group is trying to ban payment for medication and procedures that only Women need...things they clearly don't understand or empathise with.

        I wish Roberts had been argued with more. WHen 5-10% of  Congress is out LBGT people we'll know it may be approaching equality. Instead, just this past election we are having firsts...first openly Gay Senator, IIRC. First openly Bisexual Congressperson, IIRC. There is far to go for LBGT people. Even with Black Senators, we've only have had a handful. Right now there are only TWO out of 100 IIRC...and NEITHER was elected by the people-they both were appointed. !2% or more of our country is African American. Yet usually 0-2% of the Senate is.

        When a minority group is underrepresented in Congress as women, Black people, LBGT people are, you can be sure they LACK power and need to be protected still.

        •  Agree, except they couldn't argue more with (4+ / 0-)

          Roberts. Supreme Court cases just don't work that way. From what I heard on the audio, Kaplan did a good job.
          And even if she had been allowed to go on with her argument, Roberts wasn't hearing it. He had his views and that was that.

          While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

          by Tamar on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 07:50:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm talking like a sentence but agree (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            she did a fine job.

            Sometimes wishing isn't literal, also. As in I wish that idea came out because when false assessments are put out there and not countered their they are existing as if they are facts, for some people.

            Doesn't mean I think she did a bad job or could have done better. Am not asssessing per say her work. Just want him countered.

      •  Great points, (4+ / 0-)

        I'd just caution in the context of the diary that this is oral argument, and if petitioners seek heightened scrutiny, this is a question they have to be prepared to ask, whether it's from Roberts or another Justice.  

        I do think Roberts is less likely to move the dials on this one.  I'm increasingly confident that DOMA and Prop 8 both get stricken on rational basis +, which would be good, but wouldn't explicitly lay the groundwork for marriage equality in states that don't have it.  (Some of the 2004 ballot initiatives might be in question, but I'd have to look into that further.)  

        But I can see how Roberts was pretty tone deaf in how he asked the question. I knew what legal point he was making, and I still heard "gay mafia."

        Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

        by Loge on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 07:41:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  even in our very liberal area, there are attacks (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        on gay and transgender people. My daughter had two friends attacked while waiting at a bus stop -- 2 gay men. Two women, lesbians, were attacked while walking down a street in D.C., and the police let their attackers go (there was a lot of publicity about that case, luckily).

        While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

        by Tamar on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 07:47:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Just a little nose rubbing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I think he likes to rub a persons nose in the fact that he has power over them.  And with such a pleasant smile, too.

  •  Heightened Scrutiny means for the government (5+ / 0-)

    To restrict your liberty, they need a compelling reason to do so rather than just some rational basis. Heightened scrutiny is afforded to suspect classes like race or religion, so this standard would be good and not so bad as you indicated.

    "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

    by Kvetchnrelease on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 12:12:51 PM PDT

  •  And isn't he basically saying (18+ / 0-)

    that SCOTUS isn't needed? I mean if by virtue of the fact that a case getting to SCOTUS means XYZ case doesn't need SCOTUS than why would SCOTUS need to continue to exist? I know they hate government but they usually try to keep their own government jobs.

    We view "The Handmaid's Tale" as cautionary. The GOP views it as an instruction book.

    by Vita Brevis on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 12:16:14 PM PDT

    •  Was it Roberts who was arguing that this could (11+ / 0-)

      be left to the President, the Court didn't need to do anything? I can't remember which of the conservative justices said that. I was floored by that argument.

      While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

      by Tamar on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 12:20:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't remember either (7+ / 0-)

        But I do remember thinking how condescending Roberts came across to Kaplan. I was waiting for a "little lady" or "dear" to come out of his mouth.

        We view "The Handmaid's Tale" as cautionary. The GOP views it as an instruction book.

        by Vita Brevis on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 12:37:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I thought the idea of POTUS (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MPociask, Tamar, mmacdDE

        deciding a law was not constitutional and acting independently of the court was asking to be impeached. Also seemed appropriate that since two cases had gotten to the supremes desk, it was very reasonable to go with a decision from them rather than fight it out over and over in multiple states.

        It was Roberts. Norman Goldman can be very shallow with stuff outside the law. On that he came down very hard. Really ridiculous.

        My other facepalm was Roberts suggesting that the change in public opinion was due to all the pressure from groups influencing the people in ads, etc.

        Like the Mormon Church was able to influence California voters, Justice Roberts?  Like the Koch's, Adelson and the rest of the GOP gazillionaires were able to spend BIG bucks to infulence American voters, Justice CU Roberts??

        Somedays I want there to be a hell. Then I think, no, poltergeists would work just fine.

        "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

        by Ginny in CO on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 04:11:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  No, he isn't (0+ / 0-)

      There seems to be some weird belief that a group has to be powerful to make it to the supreme court, that goes against the history of the court. I think he's wrong, but it isn't a catch 22.

      If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

      by AoT on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 02:19:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Justice Roberts spent most of yesterdays (10+ / 0-)

    arguments trying to position himself politically and failing miserably.

  •  Non-gay citizens should be just as free to marry (7+ / 0-)

    ...same sex partner as LGTBT citizens should be.

    Roberts sure seems to have used some really acrobatically twisted contortionist mental exercises in his questioning in this case!

  •  What about his rights (10+ / 0-)

    OK  Roberts thinks Gays are powerful politically.  Then he should be willing to be in our shoes.  Let his marriage be meaningless federally. After all, according o the pro 8 side he shouldn't be allowed to marry because he has no children.  Oh yeah he adopted some, but he obviously can't replicate, so no marriage for him.  No federal medical care for his "wife"  etc.  

    Let him wait at the back of the bus with us.  In fact make him wait until Mississippi the paragon of states allows it.  

    Roberts is a typical GOPer. Only when it affects him is something good.  So sad.

    •  Excellent point, BarryLasVegas. Wish more people (6+ / 0-)

      would make your point when "traditional marriage and procreation" are trotted out.  

      Another is that traditional marriage was about the transfer of property (woman) from one man (father) to another man (husband).  Sell that.  Oh, Oh I'm sorry, did you say "traditions change?" Exactly.

      I'd almost feel sorry for anyone trying to find a logical argument for traditional marriage except their happily justified discrimination messes with people's lives!

      "In politics stupidity is not a handicap." Napoleon Bonaparte

      by citylights on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 01:04:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  and the "thousands of years of traditions" a (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mmacdDE, stormicats

        couple of the conservative justices mentioned is actually thousands of years of polygamy -- not "one man, one woman," in the Judeo-Christian tradition (which is the only one most of them recognize). Don't they read the bible? 5773 years and almost 4000 of those filled with polygamy.

        While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

        by Tamar on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 07:58:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Heard an interesting idea on what (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ZedMont, Loge, madcitysailor, mmacdDE

      might underlie some some hetero's problems with same sex marriage. There is no obvious person of power. Male - female relationships are still defined by many with the traditional male dominance role - even though it isn't practiced by many couples. Neither two guys nor two gals have the obvious power role. As she pointed out, it really seems to bother some people that both parties refer to each other as husband or wife. Some even ask 'who's  the guy?'

      I think this is very much under the religious indoctrination for those with that indoctrination. Some who can't really explain what they think is wrong, other than it's not natural, might be holding the idea intuitively.

      "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

      by Ginny in CO on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 05:16:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agree. I don't think the average gay marriage (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ginny in CO

        opponent fully understands the rationale behind his opposition.  From what I have seen these are largely people who object to pretty much anything that differs from what they have always understood, without ever analyzing the rationale for their beliefs in the first place.

        Absolute belief in the word for word inerrancy of the Bible is an example.  "True believers" are not interested in a discussion of the Bible's actual historical origin, only it's mystical aura.  In fact many of them would consider an extra-Biblical historical examination a "work of the devil" in itself.  True believers have little use for historical accuracy, which says a lot about the Texas State Board of Education's attitude toward it, but that's another story.

        I suspect this is pretty much the thought process - or lack thereof - that drives most of the opposition.

        Of course there are opponents who fully understand their rationale.  They are the plutocrats who manipulate the folks described above for self-interested reasons unrelated to the motivation of their puppets.

        Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

        by ZedMont on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 07:17:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  captured brilliantly by George Constanza's (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ginny in CO

        question to a lesbian couple

        "When you dance, who leads?"

  •  he made it clear he wants no part of this (8+ / 0-)

    He does not want to give marriage rights to gay people and wants the states to deal with it. No way he can get out of striking down DOMA, it should go down 9-0 if we had a court that really went by the constitution.
    He will kick prop 8 back to Ca just to get rid of it.

  •  Frankly, I am much more interested (4+ / 0-)

    in a diary describing a situation when there * isn't * any logical problems with this guy's arguments.

    But in that case, no diaries about him are likely to ever be written.

    IOW, a win-win situation!

  •  hopefully, he was using a straw man argument (0+ / 0-)

    method to draw out the lawyer.
    now if it was Thomas...

    •  I don't think so. I guess it's possible, though. (0+ / 0-)

      While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

      by Tamar on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 05:17:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You know, I actually have an appreciation for (7+ / 0-)

      Thomas' silence at orals.

      For one thing, I approve of our "leaders" (they're not... they're our employees) choosing to shut the fuck up. So much of what they say is self-aggrandizing bullshit, and the less said, the better.

      Less cynically, he does have a point... he has said, repeatedly, that, since cases are really argued in briefs, ie, in writing, if a lawyer can't write their brief well enough to make their arguments clear, it's not his role to rescue them.

      In a way, it can be argued to be the most respectful stance with regard to the attorneys... a brief to the Supreme Court should be the best legal writing a lawyer can produce. Letting their writing stand or fall on its own assumes that it is.

      And it's not as if he's unique in this regard. For significant portions of the history of the Republic, the Supreme Court didn't even have oral arguments.


      "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
      "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

      by Leftie Gunner on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 07:27:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  well, part of it is Thomas (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        already has his mind made up because his method of deciding cases is so rigid.  The same was true of William O. Douglas -- never spoke at oral argument; didn't really give a shit what anybody else thought about how the case should come out.  

        Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

        by Loge on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 07:44:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  He Wasn't, Unfortunately (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Denise Oliver Velez


  •  To which I would add this simple point: (11+ / 0-)

    We didn't do it alone, and we could NOT have done it alone. Gays and lesbians are a small minority. It is BECAUSE OF THOSE WHO STOOD WITH US THAT WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO COME THIS FAR, and without them, we would not have made the progress that we have made.

    The key was in coming out. When we did our brothers, sisters, and fellow Americans stood with us by and large and in increasing numbers.

    I believe I speak on behalf of most if not all of those of us in the GLBT community, when I say from the bottom of my heart: Thank you. Thank you to those who stood with us. That power does not belong to us. It belongs to you. We are grateful that you have lent your shoulders, your arms, your hearts, your words and your pens to our cause.

    Now, Chief Justice Roberts -- when people stand with you, that does not mean you are not an oppressed minority. As was pointed out at hearing, state after state has seen fit to take away our rights. It is ironic that you would hear a case on one day involving California's attempt to deny our marriage rights and the next day hear a case involving the Congress taking away from state's the right to give us all the rights and privileges of marriage and then you turn around and tell us how powerful we are.

    We are an historically oppressed and even despised minority that has achieved progress only through the kindness of our fellow Americans. We did not do this on our own. Just ask Mr. Olson.

    If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

    by Bensdad on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 06:46:01 PM PDT

    •  {{{{{{{{{{{{Bensdad}}}}}}}}}}}} (5+ / 0-)

      I grew up with this guy's voice and words resonating in my heart.

      Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.
      Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.
      Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
      The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.
      Martin Luther King, Jr.

      P.S. You are very welcome. The joy we now share, the increasing numbers who can be what they ought to be, is the intangible reward nothing can equal.

      "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

      by Ginny in CO on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 05:01:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Many of us have been involved in fighting for (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mmacdDE, stormicats, Bensdad

      human rights for different groups -- African-Americans, immigrants, the LGBTQ community. But it's not out of kindness. It's because we know that protecting the human rights of others also protects our own:

      In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
      And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
      And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
      And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.

      While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

      by Tamar on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 08:13:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You should have explained Catch-22 (0+ / 0-)

    As stated  in the book.

    We have a right to do anything you can't prevent us from doing.
    This is in fact Scalia's version of Constitutional Originalism: The Constitution means what I originally thought it meant back in the white-bread 1950s when I was in a Jesuit high school, and if five of us think that way there isn't a thing you can do about us.
    Classmate and future New York State official William Stern remembered Scalia in his high school days:
    This kid was a conservative when he was 17 years old. An archconservative Catholic. He could have been a member of the Curia. He was the top student in the class. He was brilliant, way above everybody else.
    In 1953, Scalia enrolled at Georgetown University, where he graduated valedictorian and summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in history in 1957. While at Georgetown, he also studied at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland and went on to study law at Harvard Law School, where he was a Notes Editor for the Harvard Law Review. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law in 1960, becoming a Sheldon Fellow of Harvard University.

    Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

    by Mokurai on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 08:35:01 PM PDT

  •  Seems to me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that Roberts is feeling the pressure, to vote for the constitution by striking down DOMA.

    Wasn't that one of Scalia's complaints about the Voting Rights Act, that legislators were only voting for the VRA because of political pressure.  Who would not vote to uphold voting rights after all.

    Maybe these guys know their names will be on the minority opinion; they will be the stubborn ones seen opposing a legal and cultural landmark in our nation's history.  

    The conservatives won't be the ones writing the history this time around.  Unless Roberts joins the liberal majority so he can write the opinion himself.

    ...someday - the armies of bitterness will all be going the same way. And they'll all walk together, and there'll be a dead terror from it. --Steinbeck

    by Seldom Seen on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 08:42:53 PM PDT

  •  Cirque de Soleil would would applaud the acrobatic (5+ / 0-)

    moves taken to try and tweake a position so it doesn't sound as political, bigoted, or regressive as it is.

    Flash back to the court's ruling when women workers tried to bring a class action suit against Wal Mart. It was the same kind of ass-backwards logic. Corporations need protection from citizen taxpayers.

    I, too, felt he was condescending. I wonder if it's a man/women, justice/attorney, I'm right/you're wrong attitude, or a combination of the above.  But maybe I infer wrongly, and he didn't mean to sound condescending.  Maybe he's simply torqued because he knows discrimination is wrong and his position is squirmingly uncomfortable.

    Tipped and recommended, and I sent your brilliant sig line to top comments.

    "In politics stupidity is not a handicap." Napoleon Bonaparte

    by citylights on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 12:44:07 AM PDT

  •  It scares me that there are so many people (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    madcitysailor, Tamar, apimomfan2

    unsuited to the job on the Supreme Court. They are theocrats who don't like democracy, homophobes, misogynists, racists, bigots, worshippers of power and wealth and completely lacking in empathy. Roberts didn't use that argument when he gave powerful corporations and wealthy plutocrats the right to buy politicians and elections.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam> "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." Edna St.V. Millay

    by slouching on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 04:27:29 AM PDT

  •  Roberts came across to me as a partisan (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassandra Waites, Tamar, RAST

    Republican in this particular like someone who drinks in their brand of coolaid.

    "Those Gays and their lobby are so powerful, have been so successful that Congresspeople are falling all over themselves to kiss their ass..things have changed", basically. I found it vaguely offensive. Insert any other minority group.

    "Black people/Women/insert historically disempowered minortiy have been so successful in advocating for selfs that Congress people are falling all over themselves to support them"

    "falling all over selves" gives us a whiff of Roberts point'  of view. In addition to being factually incorrect or certainly an exaggeration, there is seemingly vague resentment to that phrase...dislke. A feeling that people should NOT BE "falling all over selves" to support LBGT rights.

    Too bad, as someone probably said, that the lawyer didn't think to say "Congresspeople are falling all over selves to support Gay people? Why hasn't a single REpublcan Congressperson spoken out for overturning DOMA or signed the friend of court brief?"

    He showed himself as being really obtuse. Just because things are CHANGING doesn't mean that things are equal and protection is not needed. He's probably someone who thinks there is NO racism in society too just because it's gotten better.

  •  Roberts Was, Unfortunately (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Loge, mmacdDE, Denise Oliver Velez

    Arguing the legal standard that already exists for determining whether elevated scrutiny over and above rational basis should apply to enactments that affect an insular group that isn't expressly called out in the 14th Amendment.  It was not a surprise when he did it, because it's the current law.  I did cringe, however, because I knew exactly where he was going.  I was also pleased that Ms. Kelly stuck to her guns despite him basically trying to trap her.

    •  Aren't the key words (0+ / 0-)

      "rational basis"?

      •  Well (0+ / 0-)

        I personally believe there's no rational basis but believe it or not governments have routinely been found to have had a rational basis for things that most of us normal folks would consider not rational.  The court is supposed to defer to that.  So if this case is decided on rational basis, then the fact that the government can articulate a reason, however ridiculous to us, helps the anti-marriage equality folks.  Doesn't mean they win (and I think it's certain they lose, on DOMA) but it isn't as cut and dried as if it is rational-basis plus or even intermediate scrutiny.

  •  Roberts is looking for a fig leaf. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    apimomfan2, alice kleeman

    This is Generation Pb stuff, leftover hate from folks over 40.  Gen X and younger just know better, flat-out.

  •  illogic (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    onionjim, Tamar, RAST, apimomfan2

    How can a group is "powerful" if they are having their rights trampled on this most basic of issues?

  •  What the heck is he babbling about? (5+ / 0-)

    Whether or not they are a powerful group (however he defines that) is not even at the table.

    I would ask each judge to weigh in on one simple question: Are same sex married couples eligible for federal benefits the same as hetero married couples?

    All this talk about public opinion and social perceptions is total smokescreen. They are trying to change the subject and squirm out like the cowards they are.

    We didn't hear all this hand-wringing when they gave away our democracy to the corporations, did we?

    A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

    by onionjim on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 08:22:05 AM PDT

    •  That is, after all, the real issue (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tamar, stormicats, onionjim, apimomfan2, MeToo

      If you're legally married, you're legally married.

      It shouldn't matter what state it happened in. A legal marriage is a legal marriage is a legal marriage, and the feds should recognize it as such.

      The military cases are what's going to decide this once and for all. Because you KNOW they're coming.  

      •  They recognize marriages from foreign states (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        My ggparents's marriage was recognized back in 1914... How's that for precedent? I don't see the difference between recognizing other state recognized marriages and recognizing current marriages. If the state has granted a marriage it's a marriage.

        The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution. Paul Cezanne

        by MeToo on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 04:26:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is SCOTUS's moment, either you rule correctly (4+ / 0-)

    ... or everyone on the planet knows you are intellectually bankrupt.

    Drum roll please.

    Roberts cracks me up, they have already been singled out for "special" treatment, that treatment being blatant discrimination.

    All they are asking for, is to stop being treated so "specially". ;P

    What I want to know is, WHO is going to pay for all the benefits this class of people have been cheated out of (by law) for almost 20 years? Bill Clinton? Congress? The Treasury? We have a whole new set of "reparations" to be pursued.

    •  I was thinking about that -- probably won't (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      go back to when it wasn't possible to legally marry your same sex partner (even though it should). But just taking the cases of people who were legally married in their states and then denied the inheritance tax exemption or social security or tax-filing benefits. I mean the widow in the case before the court had to pay something like $350,000 in inheritance taxes -- shouldn't she get back everything that she wouldn't have had to pay if her marriage had been treated the same as a heterosexual marriage?

      While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

      by Tamar on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 10:58:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I would argue Bush v. Gore (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      apimomfan2, Notreadytobenice

      settled that question, especially with their admonition that the case has no precedential value.

  •  How is asking for equal protection under the law (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RAST, apimomfan2, Tamar

    asking for extra protection? The whole "special rights" thing eludes me. Gay rights are human rights.

  •  There's no Catch 22 here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The fact of the matter is that while I think he is completely wrong there isn't a Catch 22 here unless you think that only powerful people can bring cases to the supreme court. But that simply isn't true. I'd point out Gideon as the obvious example.

    If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

    by AoT on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 02:25:08 PM PDT

  •  Roberts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Notreadytobenice, Tamar

    1) Weakened the Affordable Care Act by making it a tax instead of a commercial regulation. The ruling gives Congress less direct oversight.

    2) Claims that he wants Obama to strike down unconstitutional laws (but will likely say the opposite if Obama does so)

    3) Completely incoherent on Affordable Care Act

    "Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place." -- Mandela

    by agoldnyc on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 06:19:52 PM PDT

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