Overheard (Jan/Feb 2023)
The Court reverses course today for one reason and one reason only: because the composition of this court has changed.
U.S. Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, in the dissenting opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24.
Shortly before leaving the court, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor powerfully observed: “Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer a difficult question: Why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?” The conservative justices have no answer to this question.
Erwin Chemerinsky, dean and professor at the UC Berkeley School of Law, in his column, “Here’s what Supreme Court conservatives are ignoring in their crusade to protect religion.”
Sacramento Bee, 12-23-22
Most Americans today support Supreme Court term limits. . . . Looking back to early America, I think there is a better reason to want to pull the judiciary, and the Supreme Court, a little closer to the people. As the antifederalist writer Brutus observed in the midst of the battle to ratify the Constitution, an independent judiciary of this strength, power and lack of accountability is “altogether unprecedented in a free country.” “This power in the judicial,” Brutus warned, “will enable them to mold the government into almost any shape they please.”
Jamelle Bouie, in his column, “The case for Supreme Court term limits just got a lot better.”
The New York Times, 11-27-22
I find more and more young evangelicals who think the church itself is immoral.
Russell Moore, editor of Christianity Today, as quoted in Michelle Goldberg’s column, “The empty gestures of disillusioned evangelicals.”
The New York Times, 12-5-22
As always, the conservatives on the court have seemingly bottomless sympathy for Christian plaintiffs who say their right to the fullest expression of their religious beliefs is being hindered. . . . For the conservatives on the court, however, religion — in particular, conservative versions of Christianity — changes everything, even how we should think about commerce. They’ve been steadily carving out more and more spaces where religious claims under the First Amendment trump every other right or law, whether it has to do with health-insurance regulations or Christian prayer in schools.
Paul Waldman, in his column, “The Supreme Court keeps coddling the Religious Right. It shouldn’t.”
Washington Post, 12-7-22
This is basically the argument the religious right continues to make: You can’t make me do something (make a website) because it offends my religion, but I can force you to do something (have a baby) because my religion says you have to.
Shelley Roberts Bendall, in her op-ed, “What about my personal right to be free from your religion?”
Lexington Herald-Leader, 12-17-22