Thursday, January 14, 2010

Supreme Absurdity ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

From today’s Los Angeles Times:

By a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court kept in place Wednesday its order blocking video coverage of the trial of California's Proposition 8, with a conservative majority ruling that defenders of the ban on same-sex marriage would likely face "irreparable harm" if the proceedings were broadcast to the public.

"It would be difficult -- if not impossible -- to reverse the harm of those broadcasts," the court wrote in an unsigned opinion. The witnesses, including paid experts, could suffer "harassment," and they "might be less likely to cooperate in any future proceedings." The high court also faulted U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker for changing the rules "at the eleventh hour" to "allow the broadcasting of this high-profile trial" that will decide whether gays and lesbians have a right to marry in California.

The unsigned opinion clearly speaks for Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Anthony M. Kennedy and Samuel A. Alito Jr.

What a load of horse shit. The absurdity of the mealy mouth reasoning in this unsigned opinion (the avoidance of accountability clearly begins at the top) is astounding. It would be humorous if it were not simply one more example of institutionalized homophobia at work.

It’s hardly surprising that the Bush Boys don’t want to sign this opinion. Most people don’t like to own up to their social prejudices, particularly in a high profile public manner. This from the folks who constantly talk about “accountability.” Not that one would expect much more of the ideologue bloc on the court. After Bush v. Gore, the standard by which court decisions could be compared is so low, nothing could be terribly surprising. The Bushes were hardly known for their ability to think critically or to demonstrate “the vision thing” so it’s hardly surprising their knee jerk appointees wouldn’t either.

What’s lost here is the irony of homophobes in the role of victims. It’s a bit like the Slave Holders’ Anti-Defamation League winning the day in the Dred Scott case. G-d forbid that misanthropists ever be held publicly accountable for their prejudices.

What makes it ironic is the fear of the homophobes that they might be harassed even as they testify in proceedings to support ongoing harassment of a whole segment of the population. Obviously these justices believe we must insure that misanthropists can engage in their dignity-denying, death dealing behaviors without any repercussions, beginning with criticism of their misanthropy.

Over the years these people holding these same prejudices have

• killed thousands of LBGT people in the name of religion and under the authority of law
• denied LGBT people basic human necessities ranging from housing to protection from crime
• discriminated with impunity against LGBT people in employment , marital and familial rights
• demonized them from the halls of Congress to the pulpits of the local church
• depicted them in popular culture in caricatures allowing dehumanizing behaviors toward those seen as less than fully human

Now the people who wish to continue this death-dealing pattern without question want to style themselves as victims, targets of harassment who, without the protection of the knee jerk justices on the Supreme Court would somehow find themselves irreparably harmed and excluded from future public proceedings. Not terribly unlike the white know-nothings and tea baggers who are increasingly restive about the pending shift to a minority/majority America in 2050, they fear that others will mistreat them in the same way they have been more than happy to do to others historically.

This decision by the Supremes bodes ill for the substantive issues that the California federal district court is considering that will no doubt ultimately make their way to the US Supreme Court. It was precisely the stacking of the courts with conservatives that strongly informed my own decision to leave the practice of law. I did not want to be complicit in a system of injustice. Looks like I was reading the tea leaves correctly.

The Rev. Harry Scott Coverston, J.D., Ph.D.
Member, Florida Bar (inactive status)
Priest, Episcopal Church (Dio. of El Camino Real, CA)
Instructor: Humanities, Religion, Philosophy of Law
University of Central Florida, Orlando

If the unexamined life is not worth living, surely an unexamined belief system, be it religious or political, is not worth holding.

Most things of value do not lend themselves to production in sound bytes.

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