Decrying Same-Sex Marriage Decision, Justices Thomas and Alito Endorse Trump’s Assault on Civil Rights

Last Monday the Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear a case brought by Kim Davis, a former country clerk who, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in the Obergefell v. Hodges case legalizing same-sex marriage, who refused to issue certificates for such marriages because of her religious objections to them.  She was sued and even jailed for this refusal and was appealing her case. read more

Opinion: RBG, Trump Show Us That Only The American People Can Save Us From Autocracy

American romantic poet, philosopher, and diplomat once referred to the U.S. Constitution, in an address to the Reform Club of New York in 1888, as “a machine that would go of itself.” More precisely, in using this phrase, he meant to diagnose a dangerous complacency infecting American political life, one born of the misguided belief that the Constitution itself provided a powerful enough governing framework to keep the American democratic system from ever derailing. read more

Cuomo Affirms Support for Transgender People After Trump Administration Rolls Back Protection

Andrew Cuomo destroys Mitch McConnell at his press conference

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo affirmed his state’s support for the transgender community after President Donald Trump’s administration announced it would roll back anti-discrimination rules protecting transgender individuals seeking healthcare. The Trump administration’s announcement came on the fourth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, the deadliest act of terror against LGBTQ people in American history.

“The Trump administration’s final rule rolling back healthcare nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people is repugnant. That this action was taken on the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting – an act of domestic terror targeting the LGBTQ community – and amid a global pandemic is grotesque,” Cuomo said in a statement. read more

Human Rights Campaign Will Sue Trump Administration for Revoking Transgender Protections

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has announced it will file a lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s administration after it rolled back anti-discrimination rules protecting transgender people seeking healthcare.

HRC noted in a press release that “critical civil rights protections in the rule implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)” have been impacted by the rule change, which eliminates “explicit protections from discrimination based on sex stereotyping and gender identity that have existed under law, thereby sanctioning discrimination against LGBTQ people in health care programs and activities.”

The announcement came on the fourth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, the deadliest attack against the LGBTQ community on United States soil.

“We cannot and will not allow Donald Trump to continue attacking us. Today, the Human Rights Campaign is announcing plans to sue the Trump administration for exceeding their legal authority and attempting to remove basic health care protections from vulnerable communities including LGBTQ people. And, to add insult to injury, the administration finalized this rule on the anniversary of the Pulse shooting, where a gunman killed 49 people in an LGBTQ nightclub,”  read more

Opinion: “Judicial Modesty” Is The New Legal Fig Leaf For Denying Civil Rights To LGBTQ Americans

While we don’t yet know how the Supreme Court will decide the major civil rights question before it regarding whether or not gay and transgender people are protected under federal legislation that outlaws employment discrimination “on the basis of sex,” the nature of the debates and the questions raised from the bench last week when attorneys for both sides presented arguments do not reflect well on this nation’s supposed commitment to civil rights.

At a minimum, it’s fair to say it’s no slam dunk that the Supreme Court will arrive at ruling that endows LGBTQ Americans with the basic civil rights that American ideals, especially those ideals people, particularly African Americans, took to the streets for in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, pose as fundamental liberties for all.

At worst, the court may very well be poised to ratify—and likely further unleash through its endorsement—rampant and hostile discrimination against people simply for how they choose to love and define their sexual and gender identity.  While this case centers on employment discrimination, thus entailing grave consequences for LGBTQ people’s abilities to earn a living, a ruling that denied their civil rights would surely have ramifications well beyond the workplace and economy, serious as those elements are.  Just as Trump’s virulent and loudly expressed racism has resulted in exponential increases in white nationalist and other racist violence against people of color and Jewish people, it seems to fair to expect that if the highest court in our land endorses discrimination against LGBTQ people, that a similar uptick in violence against them will likely occur.

What was most underlined in the back and forth between the justices and the attorneys is that extension of civil rights to all Americans is still in question.

Let’s underline that: Civil Rights have not been embraced by the United States for all members of society.

And that the Supreme Court is pondering and scratching its collective head about whether civil rights should be extended to all members of society is absolutely troubling.

The justices are actually wondering if it is just to have a group of second-class citizens.

We need to continue to point out this fact. And we should explore and make clear the warped reasoning coming from these supposedly prized intellects and dazzling legal minds, as I’ve done elsewhere.

For the court, the crux of the matter seemed to be whether the word “sex” in the 1964 Civil Rights Act could be construed as incorporating sexual orientation and gender identity—did it just refer to distinctions between “male” and “female,” or does it include distinctions between “gay” and “straight”?

Justice Samuel Alito at one point responded to attorney Pamela Karlan, representing two of the plaintiffs,

“You’re trying to change the meaning of what Congress understood sex to mean in 1964.” read more