Monday, April 27, 2015

An Uneasy Alliance Likely To Become More Uneasy

Say it ain't so, Joe (video below from the original, by Murray Head; beneath that, by Roger Daltrey because... because Roger Daltrey).   Or, rather, say it ain't so, Anthony.

Think Progress' Ian Millhiser reminds us

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in four cases consolidated under the name Obergefell v. Hodges. By the end of June, the Court is widely expected to hand down a decision declaring that anti-gay marriage discrimination violates the Constitution. Indeed, this outcome is so widely expected that one of the Court’s conservatives, Justice Clarence Thomas, complained in February that his colleagues are signaling that marriage equality is coming.

Probably- but that depends on Chief Justice Roberts' Supreme Court actually taking a stand. Kimberly Strassel suggested a different scenario on Sunday's Face The Nation when she speculated

So I think one of the interesting things here is how is the court going to rule. They're going to want very much for it to be a state's right. It's a question that I don't think by the way that that is still out of the realm of possibility. People are talking about Anthony Kennedy being the final deciding vote on this. And he has been very sympathetic to gay marriage in past decisions. But he's also a big fan of states' rights. And there are two questions that the court is looking at. One is, is there a constitutional right to this? But the second one is is there the 14th Amendment, does it require states to recognize gay marriages from out of states? And there is a scenario you could see in which they ruled no on the first question, and yes in the second.

Strassel is a Wall Street Journal columnist so solace may be taken in her usually being wrong. But it's not inconceivable that the Court will rule that there is no constitutional right to same-sex marriage but that if the voters (or its proxy, the legislature) of your state decide there will be no same-sex marriage, they still will have to recognize the marriage of two women or of two men who move to your state. They thus would be entitled to a right (or privilege, as the Court would have inferred) that life-long residents of your state would not be entitled to.

That would not only be grossly unfair but would make the current chaos of differing state laws look like a model of clarity and stability.   But it's possible because a decision along those lines would have Justice Kennedy's fingerprints all over it and, Millhiser notes

As any law student who has struggled through Kennedy’s gay rights opinions can tell you, they are not models of clarity. They ooze with flowery language and passages that seem at odds with other parts of the same opinion. And they lack coherence with decades of Supreme Court precedent. Kennedy’s opinions do not so much revise legal doctrine as they skip through the wilderness of constitutional law, blithely ignoring the paths laid by more thoughtful travelers.

But if Justice Thomas months is prescient, we will see what the modern Repub Party is all about.

In an enlightening discussion on a recent episode of All In, Chris Hayes states that the Republicans' "bacon will be saved" assuming such a ruling. Robert Costa, however, notes

There are two theories out there when I speak to top Republican strategists. One, is this Supreme Court decision going to be a grenade, ignite the Republican primary and set off a cultural war- competition to go further to the right- or is it battled, people are opposed to it and move on.

Seemingly, Bobby Jindal does not want to move on. At the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition Summit Saturday, the National Review reports, he exclaimed

Here’s my message for Hollywood and the media elite. The United States of America did not create religious liberty. Religious liberty created the United States of America... 

“We saw corporate America team up with the radical left to come after our religious liberty rights,” he said, referring to Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s fight against gay rights groups after he signed a religious freedom law last month. “They might as well save their breath, because corporate America is not gonna bully the governor of Louisiana!”

Governor Jindal may back off his controversial charge, for it is the elephant in the room, the 800 pound gorilla. The donor base of the GOP for decades merely has put up with the popular base, needing the latter's votes to put corporate-friendly politicians into office.  Whenever the people began questioning the guys with deep pockets, the latter could always "abortion!" and the cultural warriors would be satisfied for awhile.

Costa pointed out "the donor base feels great" about the likelihood of  a gay-favorable vote in the Court, a sentiment most conservative voters recognize but are reluctant to acknowledge publicly, sometimes even privately.  It isn't easy to come to grips with the realization that you've been duped all along- or at least your electoral allies don't have the same values you do.

Jindal's notion would be cataclysmic if it gets out. Consequently, it will be largely ignored. But even if it is, a Supreme Court ruling wiping out laws prohibiting same-sex marriage might (notwithstanding Hayes' prediction) set off a battle within the Republican Party. And if it doesn't, and the presidential candidates and congressional leaders "move on," we'll finally have definitive proof that Big Money controls the GOP lock, stock, and barrel

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