Ever since the former guy got the chance to nominate a second (Brett Kavanaugh) and then a third (Amy Barrett) Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court, I have been skeptical that the Court could manage to remain fair and non-partisan. When the preliminary decision on Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization that could overturn the 1973 ruling on Roe v Wade was leaked back in May, my worst fears were confirmed, and this week they have been confirmed yet again – twice.
Congress Shall Make No Law …
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.” This is the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and is known as the Establishment Clause under which the federal government and all governments under it, cities, states, territories, etc., are prohibited from establishing or sponsoring religion. In the words of Justice Stephen Breyer …
“The very point of the Establishment Clause is to prevent the government from sponsoring religious activity itself, thereby favoring one religion over another or favoring religion over nonreligion.”
In layman’s terms, since freedom of religion is important … freedom to observe any chosen religion or no religion at all … it is unfair for government funds that come from We the People in the form of taxes be used to support any one religion. That is the basis for the 16th Amendment. But on Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the case of Carson v Makin involving a Maine law that forbade public money to go to religious schools. Under that law, if a town does not have a secondary school aka high school, parents may get vouchers from the state to pay for their children to attend a private school, but not a religious school. Certain parents took umbrage, for the school that was available to them allowed LGBTQ students and these parents did not wish their children to attend school with LGBTQ kids and thus they petitioned the state for vouchers to send their children to a religious school whose entrance requirements largely eliminated the possibility of an LGBTQ child enrolling.
On Tuesday, the Court ruled in favour of the parents and in so doing, the Court in essence demolished the 16th Amendment and said that there is no longer a separation between government and religion. This will no doubt be seen as a red-letter day for the bigots and no doubt many more will follow suit in the near future. I wonder, though, how loud the furor will be when some parent chooses to obtain the vouchers and use them to send their kids to a Muslim or Hindu school? Wait for it, for I’m betting money that those religious bigots will have their knickers in a knot when that happens.
That 2nd Amendment … yet again
And then yesterday, the Court made what I consider to be yet another grievous error in judgment in the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v Bruen. Quite simply, since the United States Congress has steadfastly been unable or unwilling to pass any meaningful gun legislation, the State of New York passed its own law that prohibited most people, unless they could show need, from carrying a gun in public. Makes sense, right? If you claim you need a gun to protect yourself and your family from a home invasion, as most gun nuts claim, then you don’t need to take it to the library, grocery store, or a restaurant. But, the gun nuts said it violated their 2nd Amendment ‘rights’. For the record, the Amendment in question here reads …
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Period. There is no more. Nothing that says all people have the right to own killing machines that are capable of killing 20-30 people within a minute or two. Nothing says the average Joe even has a right to own a gun, let alone carry one in public. I guess that Justices Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Thomas, Barrett, and Chief Justice John Roberts care more about pandering to the gun nuts than protecting our children.
So, to recap the results of these two Supreme Court decisions, we will now be forced to financially support religious education, even those of us who do not believe in or follow any religion, and … we and our families will continue to be in danger any time we leave our home, for we can’t be sure that dude sitting next to us in a restaurant or on the bus isn’t ‘packing heat’. Way to go, SCOTUS. Within the next week or so, given that the Court will be in summer recess around the first week in July, there are two more contentious cases that will be ruled on:
- The aforementioned Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization whereby unless the Court has done a 180° reversal from May’s leaked ruling, women’s rights will be placed in the meat grinder and shredded forevermore (or until 100 years from now when the current Justices have left and some with a conscience have replaced them.)
- West Virginia v Environmental Protection Agency where the State of West Virginia is claiming that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should not be allowed to set rules and regulations around greenhouse gas emissions. Given their recent rulings, I look for them to rule in favour of West Virginia, and if they do, you will hear me ranting some more, for this is our lives and the lives of future generations that’s at stake here!