Thursday, February 28, 2013

Supreme Court Ruling on Surveillance Case Should be Guide to Ruling on Gay Marriage

But It Won’t – Conservatives Justices Vote Their Preferences, Not the Law

The Supreme Court has ruled that a group of journalist challenging a U. S. surveillance law could not challenge a U. S. surveillance law.  The reason, the group lacked standing.

Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said that the journalists, lawyers and human rights advocates who challenged the constitutionality of the law could not show they had been harmed by it and so lacked standing to sue. Their fear that they would be subject to surveillance in the future was too speculative to establish standing, he wrote.

Hm, interesting situation, where the Conservative Justices ruled that in order to challenge a ruling the challenging party must show that they are harmed.  The interesting part is that in March the Supreme Court will consider a challenge to a ruling that Proposition 8, the California Initiative that rejected legalizing gay marriage was wrongly decided.  See if the Court is to be consistent, then in this case the people challenging the rejected law would have to show that they are harmed by gay marriage.

They are not of course, nobody is harmed by another couple become legally married.  So rational people would expect the Supreme Court to reject overturning the lower court decisions invalidating the prohibition of gay marriage, in part because those challenging cannot show that they are harmed by gay marriage.  They don’t have standing, and as Justice Alito has so eloquently just stated, no standing, no right to challenge.

But no one expects the Conservatives on this Court to think that way.  The four ultra conservative Justices will almost certainly rule against gay marriage on the grounds that they are personally opposed to gay marriage and hence have the right to reject it.  No it’s not the right thing to do legally, but Conservative don’t care, they are outcome oriented and want government to rule in their favor regardless of the principles involved.  Principles of law are valid only when the result is the outcome Conservatives want.

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