Straws, meet Clutching.
Right-wing religious authoritarians in the United States are terrified because they know the end of treating same sex couples as second class citizens no longer is a matter of if, but when. Their ability to discriminate against people of the LGBT community makes them cry out they’re the ones being discriminated against. As the weeks to the Supreme Court’s decision draws closer, the voices of the religiously intolerant grows louder.
While some submit petitions to the court demanding Justices Ginsburg and Kagan recuse themselves, another sells online restraining orders to send to the Court and members of Congress demanding they rule or vote in favor of denying gay people their civil rights. There are predictions of plagues, fireballs from heaven, droughts, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and earthquakes due to some imaginary sky alien from above punishing America for including another group of people into the legally married fold that should have never been excluded.
Congressman Steve King of Iowa sponsored a bill in the House co-sponsored by Michigan Congressman Tim Walberg that would strip federal courts of their ability to rule on any case relating to marriage. Tossing everything you learned and forgot in high school civics class won’t stop the courts doing what they’re supposed to do. It’s a clear sign of how desperate the religious right have become to stop something they have no control over with radical ‘legislate from the bench’ bills like this.
Last week in Lansing, just days after the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for and against the group of four cases including DeBoer v. Snyder, the Michigan House and Senate issued concurrent resolutions urging:
The United States Supreme Court to recognize its limited historic role in a federal system and to urge the states to become proactive in defending their sovereignty against federal overreach.
What is a resolution? It’s something politicians take time out of their day to write, introduce, discuss and vote on that has absolutely no legislative power. It’s how politicians either support or complain about something; and get re-elected because it “looks” like they’re doing something. 22 Republican senators co-sponsored SCR 12, and Lee Chatfield of Petoskey introduced HCR 11. That resolution has 28 Republican co-sponsors, including Todd Courser.
Both resolutions use the same arguments to state their case. They start with number 45 of the Federalist Papers and quote Madison’s statement that federal powers are to be few and defined. They move on to the 10th amendment, describing it as the most sacred of the bill of rights, a shield against the tyranny of federal oversight of the 14th amendment, which according to the resolution, allowed the Supreme Court to “embrace novel legal doctrines” that led to rendering the 10th amendment meaningless. To illustrate how the 14th rendered the 10th meaningless, they cite the 1857 case Scott v. Sanderson, finishing with a quote from Abraham Lincoln about the dangerous precedent Justice Taney set with his ruling. Not only did these fine Michigan Republicans skip Civics, it appears they slept through U.S. History too.
The resolution ends with telling the U.S. Supreme Court to recognize it’s limited role in the federal system, and remember the 10th amendment is like a supremacy clause for the states.
Here is something to consider when people argue the 10th amendment grants sovereignty to the states. It doesn’t. The 10th amendment simply states that the powers not granted to the United States are reserved for the individual states, or the people. What that means is there is a relationship between federal and state levels of government. In fact, the 10th has been used historically to enforce the 14th amendment, not act as a shield against it. Where do our Michigan Republicans get the notion that the 10th amendment grants Michigan sovereignty over the federal government? They’re confusing the 10th amendment with Article II of the Articles of Confederation, which does say:
Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.
Unfortunately for Michigan Republicans, Article VI of the United States Constitution, the supremacy clause, makes the Constitution the law of the land and rendered the Articles of Confederation moot.
Which means the U.S. Supreme Court has the jurisdiction to hear DeBoer v. Snyder and the other three cases to determine if same sex marriage is protected by the 14th amendment. It totally does. Deep down, religious conservatives all over the United States know the law is on the side of the majority.
The US Constitution is the supreme law of this country. It’s supersedes local ordinances, state law, Sharia Law, the Holy Bible and everything in between. Our secular form of government was designed by our founding fathers to protect the people from powerful religious minorities who along with kings proclaimed their rule came from whatever imaginary sky alien they believed in. In America, we’re ruled by the will of the people. The people are ready to grant equal rights to every American who wants to get married.