When the Supreme Court Claims the Ends Justify the Means
Last month's Supreme Court rulings certainly made it a banner one for the left. First the decision in King v. Burwell on Obamacare subsidies, and then the long-awaited and much-anticipated finding in Obergefell v. Hodges that:
...the Constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry no matter where they live and that states may no longer reserve the right only for heterosexual couples...
“Under the Constitution, same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite-sex couples, and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. He was joined in the ruling by the court’s liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
All four of the court’s most conservative members — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. — dissented and each wrote a separate opinion, saying the court had usurped a power that belongs to the people.
And therein lies the crux of the matter: how this was done. For most people, though, I'd wager that how it was done was far less important (if noticed at all) than whether it was done.
It's a legal version of the ends justify the means. Many of the liberals I know,(whom I believe are fairly typical of rank and file liberal voters, as opposed to activists), who wanted to see gay marriage made obligatory, who feel it is a civil rights issue something like that of race, would tend to applaud this ruling because they got exactly what they want. If one were point out to them the dangers of finding such a right in the Constitution where it does not exist, and promote the idea that the correct way to have done this was state by state (by referendum or legislature), many would be likely to meet that idea with shrugs of disinterest.
Does a similar attitude of ends justifying the means exist on the right? With some people, yes. But it has been my observation that it is far less prevalent on the right than left, and mostly limited to those who do not really adhere to a conservative philosophy. The different attitude is no accident. It is the right that tends to care about things like the process by which something gets done, and to consider that words should mean what they say and not be subject to elastic interpretations and penumbras, that the Constitution can change only through the time-honored method of amendments, and that one of the Constitution's purposes is to limit the power and scope of the federal government.
My own attitude towards same-sex marriage is almost irrelevant to the discussion, but I'll just quickly summarize it here by saying that I have no objection to and perhaps even a slight bias towards permitting same-sex marriage, but do not believe there's a constitutionally guaranteed right to it and strongly believe the decision should be up to the states. So this SCOTUS ruling in Obergefell seems to me to be another example of the liberal Court majority doing a dangerous thing: working backwards from the result it wants, and twisting the Constitution in order to obtain that result. They are able to succeed in this because most people in America know very little about the Constitution and why it is so important, or what the dangers are of ignoring it.
Those on the activist left count on that, because it enables them to get away with what they do. First they prepare the ground in the educational system and the media -- including entertainment -- telling people that gay marriage is good and being against it is intolerance. Then they muscle it through the courts, if there are enough liberal judges and justices to oblige. They then increase the pressure on those (mostly religious people) who fail to get with the program, and brand them as hateful bigots. And then they attempt to invoke the law against those people's right of non-participation.
And then they go on to the next thing, and the next.