The Supreme Court heard arguments today in a set of potentially landmark LGBTQ rights cases. So how did it go? The answer, it seems, is “a hell of a lot shakier than anyone who believes in LGBTQ rights should be comfortable with.”
The cases, broadly speaking, center on whether or not a provision of the 1964 Civil Rights Act which protects people from discrimination on the basis of “sex” also extends to sexual orientation and gender identity. (Importantly, this marks the first time the court has dealt with the issue of trans rights.) This would seem to be a question with a fairly basic answer—yes, duh—but this is the Supreme Court and the Trump administration we’re talking about, so our favorite cast of conservative demons got to work.
Here’s how Justice Samuel Alito made his views clear, as the New York Times reported (emphasis mine):
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., who expressed the most outward doubts of any of the justices, suggested that it would be absurd to conclude that when Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it intended to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. “You’re trying to change the meaning of what Congress understood sex to mean,” he told the lawyer, Pamela Karlan.
“It’s sexual orientation — it’s not sex,” Justice Alito said at another point during the arguments, underscoring that Congress and the American public have long understood these forms of discrimination to be distinct. Discriminating against someone because they are a man or a woman, he said, is not the same as discriminating against someone for being gay or lesbian.
I know this is the Supreme Court and decorum reigns and all that but god what a dickhead.
Karlan, for her part, seemed to handle this nonsense well:
Luckily, the lawyers for the Trump administration were there to make some decent argum—oh wait:
Ah yes, the bathroom/shower(?) question, cool. The judges were apparently quite hung up on that one.
The liberal justices, as you would expect, appeared to come down firmly on the side of extending the protections to LGBTQ people. The conservative justices, as you would expect, mostly didn’t, which leads me to the most depressing part of this whole thing: the swing justice could likely be NEIL GORSUCH.
That’s right: the guy who’s on the Supreme Court because Republicans stole a seat and gave it to him now has the civil rights of LGBTQ people in America in his hands—and he appears to be leaning towards voting against them. USA! USA! USA!