Sunday, June 14, 2015

Brewing Storm

Peering through a window, I watch as the trees begin to bend and the leaves start to fall. As I step outside to take a look, I'm immediately greeted by wind and the realization that nature is stirring.

Retreating inside, I sit and continue to read the oral arguments in the case Obergefell v Hodges.

This is the gay marriage case currently before the Supreme Court. When argued back on April 28th, Justice Scalia inquired of the attorney asking the Court to mandate gay marriage:

"Is it conceivable that a minister who is
 authorized by the State to conduct marriage can decline
 to marry two men if indeed this Court holds that they
have a constitutional right to marry?"
This query roused the liberal members of the Court who quickly denied such a thing and attempted to douse this line of questions concluding with Justice Breyer saying,

"It's called Congress shall make no law respecting the freedom of religion..."

I suspect a wry smile may have been present on his face. He supports religious freedom, as long as it is within the four walls of the church that is--outside... not so much. He was, after all, one of the justices who voted in Christian Legal Society v Martinez (2010) to stop a college Christian society from amazingly trying to exclude those who did not hold Christian beliefs.  This resulted in Justice Alito saying,

 "I can only hope that this decision will turn out to be an aberration." 

Unfortunately, I don't think so.

As is often the case at oral argument, questions asked are designed to lead the conversation a particular direction and maybe, just maybe, gain an undesired admission.

A few moments later, Chief Justice Roberts pulled the conversation back:

"Counsel, I'd like to follow up in a line of questioning that Justice Scalia started. We have a concession from your friend that clergy will not be required to perform same ­sex marriage, but there are going to be harder questions. Would a religious school that has married housing be required to afford such housing to same ­sex couples?"

When pressed further by Justice Alito, after stammering around a bit in a vain attempt to avoid the question, the attorney finally made the undesired admission:

" it's certainly going to be an issue. I... ­­ I don't deny that.  I don't deny that, Justice Alito.  It is... ­­ it is going to be an issue."

The irreverent question asked by Scalia had produced its desired result.

Outside my window, I see the trees bend just a little further.

A storm is brewing.