Friday, December 25, 2015

First Amendment Threat

Texas Senator Ted Cruz has been a crusader against same-sex marriage, at one time declaring the period following Obergefell v. Hodges "some of the darkest 24 hours in our nation's history."  But when a potential donor at a Manhattan fund-raiser (audio in video below) recently asked him whether "fighting gay marriage" is a "top-three priority for you," he responded "no. I would say defending the Constitution is a top priority...."

Amanda Marcotte will have none of that.  She noted

Ted Cruz’s electoral strategy, particularly for winning the nomination, is to present himself as a near-prophetic figure to Christian conservatives, a strategy that has required him going hard in public against gay rights. But, as Mike Allen at Politico reported on Wednesday, Ted Cruz drops the medieval crusader act behind closed doors when meeting with funders that are more interested in tax breaks than forcibly divorcing happy couples.

Citing the Tenth Amendment, Cruz maintained also "people of New York may well resolve the marriage question differently than the people of Florida or Texas or Ohio."  However, Marcotte recognizes

a technicality. What this incident shows is that the empty rhetoric about “religious liberty” is all about trying to manipulate different audiences into hearing a different message. Here, he’s clearly using it to create a false sense that he’s a live-and-let-live guy, but when he’s in a different crowd, he’s putting forward a different face.

The live-and-let-live guy leans on the US Constitution, or so he  would have us believe. But since Chief Justice Marshall delivered the ruling in Marbury v. Madison in 1803 granting the judicial branch the power of judicial review, the Supreme Court has been the final arbiter of the constitutionality of legislation.  And six months ago, the US Supreme Court found, by a 5 to 4 vote, that no state may prohibit marriage between two individuals of the same sex, nor refuse to recognize a marriage lawfully performed in another state.Writing from Planet Nirvana, Justice Anthony Kennedy, rumored to be an actual lawyer, claimed

From their beginning to their most recent page, the annals of human history reveal the transcendent importance of marriage. The lifelong union of a man and a woman always has promised nobility and dignity to all persons, without regard to their station in life. Marriage is sacred to those who live by their religions and offers unique fulfillment to those who find meaning in the secular realm. Its dynamic allows two people to find a life that could not be found alone, for a marriage becomes greater than just the two persons. Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations. 

Notwithstanding Kennedy's utopian reasoning, the Court ruled, clearly and definitively.  Yet when asked at the New York event how big a priority "fighting gay marriage would be in a Cruz administration," he responded "being a constitutionalist is integral to my approach to every other issue. So that I’m very devoted to.”  Asked whether it would be a "top-three priority," he replied "no. I would say defending the Constitution is a top priority."

Following the Court's ruling in June, Cruz in a speech declared "Religious liberty has never been more threatened in America than right now today," and he wasn't referring to threats against Muslims.  Writing at the time, he advocated judicial-retention elections for Supreme Court justices.

Ted Cruz is adept at switching from one message to another to pander to his audience. Whatever his message at the time, however, it's clear that as President he would target the wall of separation cited by one of  the Constitution's signatories as inherent in the First Amendment to the document Cruz claims a devotion to.

                                                   MERRY CHRISTMAS

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