Week in Review: Coming to terms with ‘what just happened?’
The Constitution took a major hit this week as America’s quest for social justice gets reinterpreted yet again, not by the electorate, or the rule of law, but instead by nine men and women in black robes, who interpret statutes not as they’re written but by the meaning and intent behind them. From abolishing history, because we don’t like that dark part of America’s past to social engineering of communities to the continuation of Obamacare, the law that has been front and center in the drag on the American economy’s continuing anemic recovery.
Down with the Confederacy times 2
With the murders of nine African-Americans in Charleston by the twisted, evil mind of one young man, we now have the hypocritical backlash against the Confederate Battle flag that adorns many memorials scattered throughout the South.
Hypocritical you say? In a word, yes.
Americans, especially politicians and self-righteous main stream media, always have a knee-jerk reaction whenever a crisis or terrible event occurs. Whether Columbine or Sandy Hook, 9/11 or Oklahoma City, our first reaction is to find a villain or scapegoat and then “do something.” Don’t think through the actions, the implications, or the why’s or where’s or how to’s, just do something.
History is messy. Each country and civilization has a dark side. The Confederate Battle Flag has long had a dual meaning for those who lived under its oppression, and for those who family antecedents fought for the original cause of the war as noted by historians and politicians alike, i.e., States’ rights. The right to secede from a perceived unjust Union, as in 1861, or similar to our Revolution from England in 1776.
If taking down the symbol of the Confederacy will serve as a willingness to come together in a nation that is becoming increasingly polarized, then let it come down. But let’s not add hypocrisy to the mix. Erasing every last vestige of history, except the kind that vocal minorities deem appropriate and politically correct has no place in this country if we are truly the republic our Founding Fathers envisioned.
The irrational call to tear down Confederate war memorials and monuments, the eradicating of Gone with the Wind from movie channels, the changing of street names and public buildings bearing names of Confederate generals, who by the way, were some of America’s greatest warriors, the disingenuous removal of Confederate merchandise from Walmart, Ebay, Amazon.com, and their ilk is Confederate hypocrisy on steroids. Especially the latter two retailers, where you can still buy Nazi and Stalin/Lenin merchandise, and the Nazis and Stalin were responsible for more mass murder and deaths than the Confederacy was times ten. But that kind of thinking and knee-jerk reaction is typical of the America we live in today. If the shooter had enrobed himself in a Washington Redskins jersey, that NFL’s team would have suffered the same fate.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t
In a 5-4 decision, in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc, the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has given us the onset of so-called socially engineered communities.
The question before the Court was whether claims brought under the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits housing discrimination “because of” race, can be based on an allegation that a law or practice has a “disparate impact” – that is, it has a discriminatory effect, even if it wasn’t motivated by an intent to discriminate.
So now we have city councils, home-builders and real estate developers second-guessing their decisions to avoid lawsuits, because while they did not intend to discriminate, nonetheless the result of their actions caused discrimination. The entire possibility exists for racial quotas as evidenced by Justice Kennedy’s opinion.
Lest you think that disparate impact only applies to housing, think again. It hits employers as well as they select applicants from the job pool. The Obama Administration’s zeal in expanding disparate impact involves employers screening out people with criminal backgrounds from the employment pool. Kinda flies in the face of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, where employers may screen candidates on the basis of qualifications for the position, not race or color.
Employers don’t usually hire people with criminal backgrounds. Say for example, John Jones was arrested and served time for grand theft. Now he applies as a security guard at Tiffany. Tiffany runs a background check, and whoa! maybe not such a good candidate given his arrest record indicates thievery. Under disparate impact, while Tiffany’s may screen out all applicants with theft records, unfortunately, they must inform the job applicant as to the reason for the turn down. Hence, Mr. Jones, while not a good candidate for security guard, is an excellent candidate for a discrimination lawsuit.
When words have meaning – it depends
In the other two landmark cases before SCOTUS, Chief Justice John Roberts went AC/DC on us.
In King v. Burwell, SCOTUS upheld Obamacare subsidies for the second time and ruled that the State exchanges were indeed set up by the “State” as in federal government. Chief Justice Roberts alluded to sloppy drafting of the law (tsk, tsk, Jonathan Gruber), but the intent was clear. What we have is a Court that rules not by the words in the written statute, but by the context in which the words were found, the intent. Instead of jurisprudence, a system of laws interpreted and argued by legal scholars based upon the science and case law of our legal system (think Chief Justice John Marshall, Oliver Wendell Holmes, John Harlan, etc.), we are not treated to the touchy-feely inner feelings and mindset of those who wrote the law.
Just as Roberts saved Obamacare the first time around by calling a penalty a tax, we now have Roberts once again, saving Obamacare not by statute, the written word, but by statute’s intent.
The second landmark ruling, Obergefell et al v. Hodges, Director, Ohio Department of Health, places Chief Justice John Roberts on the opposite side of what words mean. Now the statute means something whereas in King v. Burwell, it was subject to interpretation.
Americans are a tolerant society; that’s our history. We celebrate our melting pot and differences where other homogenous countries have failed. However, these differences are coming are causing increasing intolerance. Christians, Catholics, Lutherans, Jews, etc., who truly believe and practice their faith are now at odds with the “civil rights” of the LGBT community. We’ve already seen this in litigation involving bakery owners who serve their customers no matter race or creed, but draw the line against wedding cakes because of religious faith.
The lighting of the White House in the LGBT rainbow, I’ll get in trouble for this, should not have happened. The White House is the “peoples’ house” and as such it represents ALL the people, and not just one section of society. It should be, but isn’t, above politics of the moment.
To highlight an opposing viewpoint of this decision, I also bring you PowerLine’s distillation of Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent. In this dissent, he rightfully points out how such a momentous decision affecting the lives of millions of Americans was made, not by the electorate, but by nine unelected judges.
We truly are witnessing momentous times.