Justices Question Past Supreme Court Ruling

Supreme Court Justices seek to remedy a past ruling that threatens religious liberty caused by judicial activism

October 19, 2020

The Supreme Court, since its inception, has been the subject of much controversy. The third branch of government is responsible for interpreting the Constitution and applying its mandates in ruling on cases brought before it. However, over the past couple of decades on occasion the Court has been accused of legislating from the bench, in essence ignoring the Constitution and making decisions based on political ideology and expediency, commonly referred to as judicial activism.

In what may be considered an unusual turn of events, even for the Court, on Monday, October 5, Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito issued a joint statement on the Court’s 2015 ruling on the case of Obergefell vs. Hodges. That ruling imagined the right to same-sex marriage into the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Both justices expressed their regret and disappointment in the Court's 5 to 4 decision, and for the repercussions have negatively effected the country, and especially religious freedom. They issued a warning and asked that the Court review the decision and possibly fix the problem it created.

This entreaty by justices Thomas and Alito came about when the court in a recent decision unanimously refused to hear the case of Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who was jailed for refusing to sign her name on same-sex marriage certificates, stating that as a devout Christian her religious beliefs and  convictions do not recognize nontraditional marriage. Ms. Davis, like most people of faith, believes that marriage is a sacred bond between one man and one woman.  

The justices in part wrote:    

                                                                                                                                             "In Obergefell v. Hodges, the Court read a right to same-sex marriage into the Fourteenth Amendment, even though that right is found nowhere in the text. Several Members of the Court noted that the Court's decision would threaten the religious liberty of the many Americans who believe that marriage is a sacred institution between one man and one woman. If the States had been allowed to resolve this question through legislation, they could have included accommodations for those who hold these religious beliefs. (Italics are mine)

"The Court, however, bypassed that democratic process. Worse still, though it briefly acknowledged that those with sincerely held religious objections to same-sex marriage are often 'decent and honorable,' the Court went on to suggest that those beliefs espoused a bigoted worldview, noting that such a view of marriage is demeaning to gays and lesbians because it teaches that gays and lesbians are unequal. The dissenting Justices predicted that these assaults on the character of fair-minded people will have an effect, in society and in court, allowing governments, employers, and schools to vilify those with these religious beliefs as bigots. Those predictions did not take long to become reality.

"Davis may have been one of the first victims of this Court's cavalier treatment of religion in its Obergefell decision, but she will not be the last," Thomas wrote. "Due to Obergefell, those with sincerely held religious beliefs concerning marriage will find it increasingly difficult to participate in society without running afoul of Obergefell and its effect on other antidiscrimination laws."

Following the Obergefell decision, Christian small business owners have been subjected to threats of lawsuits and imprisonment. I have written about many of these in past articles. The most prominent and often mentioned case came before the Supreme Court in 2018: Masterpiece Bakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. In a 7-2 ruling the court sided with Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Bakeshop.

In 2012 Phillips refused to accommodate a same-sex wedding ceremony with a custom made cake. His reason, like that of Kim Clark, was his Christian faith and belief in traditional marriage. The Masterpiece ruling makes it quite clear that Obergefell does represent a threat to religious liberty that the Court recognized and corrected, but only in this one case. Justices Thomas and Alito seek to correct this and establish it as precedent.

This brings us to the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. The judge is a brilliant and gifted jurist, first in her class at Notre Dame University, distinguished professor, highly regarded by the ABA and by her peers. Under normal conditions, which the Democrats are no longer capable of accepting, Judge Barrett would easily be confirmed to the Supreme Court. But regrettably in America today, intolerance and ideological bias has infected the minds of the Democratic Party and radical left.

There is little doubt that aside from the Affordable Care Act and Roe vs. Wade, the confirmation of Judge Barrett strikes fears into the hearts of Democrats and their leftist supporters. This includes the radical LGBTQ movement that has taken offense at the joint statement by Justices Thomas and Alito, and now will feel further threatened by a Justice Barrett and her traditional family values and principles.                                                                                                                 

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