If I Must Accept the Hobby Lobby Decision, You Must Accept Marriage Equality


June 2014: the Supreme Court hands down its opinion in a controversial case, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. In a 5-4 vote, the court allows corporations to claim religious exemptions from federal laws. Opponents are angered but accept the court's decision as the final word on the subject.

June 2015, the Supreme Court hands down its opinion in a controversial case, Obergefell v. Hodges. In a 5-4 vote, the court grants same-sex couples the right to marry in all 50 states. Opponents are angered and do not accept the court's decision as the final word on the subject. With excessive pouting, they demand an end to the Supreme Court as we know it.

Texas senator Ted Cruz, self-appointed leader of the outraged, convened a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting titled, 'With Prejudice: Supreme Court Activism and Possible Solutions.' He spoke gravely with lots of heavy sighs and theatrical turns of phrase: "Much to my great disappointment, this past term, the court crossed a line. Continued its long descent into lawlessness. To a level that I believe demands action. [dramatic pause] The court today is not a body of jurists. It is not a body of judges following the law, but rather it has declared itself, in effect, a super-legislature." A musical stab would have worked wonderfully here to punctuate his point. He continued in a supremely serious tone: "Five unelected judges declared that the marriage laws of all 50 states were now, somehow, transformed into being unconstitutional ... That's not law. That's not judging. That's policy-making."

Five unelected judges also declared that Hobby Lobby was not required to provide contraceptive care under the Affordable Care Act. Senator Cruz had no problem with that. "Today the Supreme Court handed our nation a landmark victory," he joyously exclaimed last year.

So ... according to Senator Cruz, if you like a decision, the court is terrific and doing our country a great favor. But if you disagree with a decision, the court is an imperialist body of out-of-touch, snooty elitists. To demonstrate your disapproval, you must stomp your feet, jump up and down, and bellow loudly that we need to end the court and change our system of government.

Senator Cruz convened 'With Prejudice' in order to discuss "what options the American people have to reign in judicial tyranny." There is one obvious option: opponents of same-sex marriage can propose a constitutional amendment to counter-act the Supreme Court decision. There are no other options.

The United States has three branches of government to ensure reasoned and fair decision-making. Rather than trusting this "checks and balances" system, Senator Cruz wants to dismantle the whole system simply because the Supreme Court made a decision he did not like.

Maybe Senator Cruz does not fully understand how our government works? Other leaders have needed basic civics lessons in the past month. Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin failed her test on the subject of the three branches of government: "You have the Supreme Court, the legislative branch and the people, the people and their ability to vote." Um, not quite. Former senator Rick Santorum also needed schooling recently when he failed to understand our checks and balances system. "You're fundamentally wrong on civics," TV host Rachel Maddow had to tell him.

I suspect that Senator Cruz knows perfectly well how the government works and trusts in the system. I suspect that his 'With Prejudice' meeting had nothing to do with his outrage over the court's judicial tyranny, and everything to do with the fact that he is running for President. He wants votes, and he has decided that his "religious freedom" rants and raves are going to get him noticed. He complains that the Supreme Court is taking advantage of its powers by making a "shameful" decision but, in fact, he is the one who is taking advantage of his powers to shamelessly court conservative voters.

I am angry with Senator Cruz so, taking a page from his book, I say we get rid of Congress. I do not like some of the decisions that our senators and representatives make. They do not agree with me on all subjects. Who needs Congress anyway, right?