“Constitutional law” is not the exclusive domain of the courts, or even of government officials. Faithful interpretation is the duty and responsibility of faithful citizens.
Reading and understanding the Constitution is not an especially complicated intellectual exercise. It takes lawyers, judges, and law professors to turn it into something difficult and convoluted.
Although there were many good arguments and questions at the Supreme Court last week, there were also some significant errors.
For the Court to strike down laws defining marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife would be to abolish the idea that men and women matter—equally—in the lives of the children they create. And it would be both a judicial usurpation of legislative authority and a federal intrusion into a matter left by the Constitution in the hands of the states.
Rather than rush to a fifty-state “solution” on marriage policy for the entire country, the Supreme Court should allow the laboratories of democracy the time and space to see how redefining marriage will impact society as a whole.
According to a recent amicus brief by scholars of liberty, same-sex marriage is not only counter to the Supreme Court’s long line of personal liberty cases, it may even be prohibited by them.
Those suing to overturn state marriage laws are not merely asking the Court to recognize a new right. They are asking the Court to declare that the Constitution removes this issue from democratic deliberation.
Fewer than 9 percent of the countries belonging to the United Nations have redefined marriage to include same-sex relationships—and only one of those did so via its judiciary. A judicial redefinition of marriage would make the United States an extreme outlier on the global stage.
More than fifty million people have, by their votes, demonstrated that they continue to understand the profound importance of marriage. They deserve better than to have the decision to protect or redefine marriage taken out of their hands by the Supreme Court.
Antonin Scalia is one of the most brilliant, principled, sound, and thoughtful jurists ever to sit on the Supreme Court. But twenty-five years ago today, his legal skills utterly failed him.
A group of distinguished conservative public servants, policy makers, and political operatives has signed an amicus brief saying the US Constitution requires the states to redefine marriage. They argue that this is the truly conservative position—but it takes quite a bit of logical contortion to accept their argument.
The metamorphosis of marriage from a gendered to a genderless institution would send the message that society no longer needs men to bond to women to form well-functioning families or to raise happy, well-adjusted children. That would be bad news for children of heterosexuals on the margins: the poor, the relatively uneducated, the irreligious, and others who are susceptible to cultural messages promoting casual or uncommitted sex.
Why should a federal judge expect citizens, lawyers, and officials to obey her orders when she ignores the cases before her, and when she holds facts, law, and reason in such obvious contempt?
Judge Callie Granade ignored the case in front of her, then decided a hypothetical case involving facts that she made up, many of which directly contradicted the undisputed facts in the actual case before her.
The US Supreme Court has set a precedent upholding the right of states to define marriage as the union of husband and wife. All federal and state judges—including those in Alabama—are bound by that precedent.
President Obama’s “authorization” request is designed to curtail existing legal authority to wage war on ISIL and to handcuff future presidents in the exercise of their constitutional authority as commander in chief.
The structure and logic of the legal arguments made for nationwide judicial imposition of same-sex marriage are remarkably similar to the arguments made by those who argued for the judicial imposition of slavery nationwide. Will the Republican Party produce another Lincoln to stand against them?
The constitutional crisis now unfolding in Alabama is a direct and foreseeable result of Judge Callie S. Granade’s orders.
Conservatives should defend the Constitution and the rule of law, but they should not defend judicial supremacy. The Constitution—not the Supreme Court—is our country’s highest authority.
In the real world, human goods are often in conflict with one another. This reality forces us to make difficult choices and trade-offs that cannot be eliminated or adjudicated by following simple rules.
Courts heighten scrutiny of policies that classify people by sex and other “suspect” traits. But laws defining marriage as a male-female union are different in structure. The very form of policies based on the male-female pairing—unlike every other classification—demonstrates their connection to the common good. So courts shouldn’t subject them to the special scrutiny applied to other laws that classify by sex.
The Supreme Court closely scrutinizes policies involving racial, sexual, and other “suspect” classifications. But unlike almost every other classification imaginable, marriage laws use a criterion necessarily linked to an inherently good social purpose that we didn’t just invent. This criterion isn’t truly suspect and shouldn’t get heightened scrutiny.
US religious liberty law is not perfect, but it still deserves our support. Religious exemptions witness to the value of religion as a transcendent good. And nothing in the Supreme Court cases requesting religious liberty exemptions for Muslim citizens undermines that effort.
The equality that demands same-sex marriage demands that all social recognition of the distinction between mothers and fathers—of the paternal and the maternal, the masculine and the feminine, and of the sexual identity of everyone as male or female—must be systematically expunged, to be replaced by the lies and seductions of “gender identities” on the ever more blurry rainbow spectrum.
Responses to the Hobby Lobby case demonstrate the importance of conservatives and libertarians working toward common goals.
The existence of objective moral truth that is knowable by reason does not imply that people generally, much less particular public officials, will in fact know and embrace that truth. Very often, they won’t, and that is why systematic limits on government power, such as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, are good laws.
Legislators and judges not only can but must gauge the moral justification of every law.
When the law limits the courts’ power to inquire into the truth or reasonableness of religious views, this is not because the law is assuming that religious beliefs lack rational foundation. Rather, it’s because allowing courts to exercise this power on a large scale would be too dangerous.
Confronted with its legislative weaknesses, defenders of Obamacare are appealing to the law’s intent instead of its text. This is a dangerous approach that the founders clearly rejected.
The Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case missed an important point. As with churches, the government has no compelling interest in coercing businesses and organizations with religious objections to carry out the HHS mandate.
Contra Justice Ginsburg, the Hobby Lobby decision is no cause for alarm. Yet we should acknowledge and address a fear she highlights: the serious obstacles women face today in the realms of sex, marriage, and parenthood.
The contradictory reasoning of Justice Sotomayor’s Wheaton dissent exposes a glaring weakness in the legal argument requiring religious non-profits to comply with HHS’s regulatory scheme.
The right to religious freedom is for everyone, not just those with the “right” beliefs.
According to the structure of the Court’s logic, all objecting employers should receive the same religious freedom protection given to churches and religious orders.
Yesterday’s decision demonstrates that the Supreme Court understands what Congress set out to do when it passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Religious freedom is for all, regardless of the popularity of the belief. Congress, in passing RFRA, has said that if the belief can be accommodated, then it must be.
Respect for religious conscience is not an afterthought or luxury, but the very essence of the American political and social compact. Adapted from testimony presented before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice.
Common sense can tell us whether particular citizens should be exempt from certain government policies for religious reasons. Codifying such instinctive judgments into formal statutes is more difficult.
It’s time to realize that ACOG’s priority is not medical fact but thwarting protection for the unborn.
Justice Kennedy’s opinion in Greece v. Galloway is the Court’s best piece of Establishment Clause work in decades—and a happy omen for religious liberty in our country.
The new world of civil rights turns the old one on its head.
Conservatives must defend marriage for both principled and practical reasons. The Republican Party cannot surrender the cause of marriage without also surrendering the cause of life.
Abolitionism provides the example for how to fight for a cause: underscore the humanity of those whose humanity is denied, provide compassionate care for those affected, name the lies that dehumanize and kill, and tirelessly argue for the truth about “who counts.”
In staying out of the legislative fray, the Fifth Circuit humbly recognized the limits of its due process jurisdiction. Now it’s up to the Supreme Court to do the same.
A business owner brings his values and his entire self—his faith no less than his race—to his daily work. The government shouldn’t force him to violate his conscience.
For Justice Clarence Thomas, the foundation of all our law lies in the self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence, beginning with human equality.
State lawmakers should make it clear that religious and moral reasons are rational and legitimate, and that property owners may act or refrain from action in obedience to conscience.
The unchecked progress of sexual liberalism means that we cannot say what kind of moral culture our children will inhabit as adults or, accordingly, what kind of moral culture will form our grandchildren. No responsible person can support such a movement.
Conservatives must resist the temptation toward “big-government conservatism.” Easy acceptance of extra-constitutional federal powers betrays the philosophical roots of the conservative movement.
The age in which all states were united in understanding marriage as the exclusive union of man and woman for life has passed away. Now, new legislation seeks to protect the right of each state to define marriage for those who reside within its borders.
“Informed choice” legislation does not impede a woman’s ability to choose abortion. Such laws enlighten the abortion choice by making clear exactly what it is that is being chosen.