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NOM cofounder: GOP should treat potential marriage equality ruling like Dred Scott decision

by Jeremy Hooper

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 At 11.04.22 PmAdd Princeton professor Robert George, the dogged anti-equality activist who is also the cofounder of the National Organization For Marriage and one of the authors of the failed Bush era Federal Marriage Amendment, to the list of conservatives pre-gaming the US Supreme Court's likely ruling in favor of civil marriage equality by directly comparing it to one of the most infamous decisions of all time:

"Now we face the prospect of yet another Dred Scott-type decision—this time on the question of marriage. I say that, not because same-sex relationships are the moral equivalent of slavery—they are not—but because five justices seem to be signaling that they will once again legislate from the bench by imposing, without constitutional warrant, their own beliefs about the nature and proper definition of marriage on the entire country.

If that happens, the Republican Party, the Republican Congress, and a future Republican President should regard and treat the decision just as the Republican Party, the Republican Congress, and the Republican President—Abraham Lincoln—regarded and treated the Dred Scott decision. They should, in other words, treat it as an anti-constitutional and illegitimate ruling in which the judiciary has attempted to usurp the authority of the people and their elected representatives. They should refuse to treat and regard it as a binding and settled matter. They should challenge it legislatively and give the Supreme Court every opportunity to reverse itself—especially as new justices fill vacancies. And they should work to fill vacancies on federal courts at all levels with jurists who reject judicial usurpation and can be counted on to respect the scope and limits of their own constitutionally specified authority.

So to recap, for those playing at home: Mr. George and his conservative cronies went around telling Americans than they needed to ban same-sex marriage whenever and however they could. Then, after years of that game and a few "successes" on his side, the tide started to turn against him and his. Legislatures and voters started favoring equality rather than discrimination, and eventually the courts started saying with near-unanimity that the animus-driven bans that people like Robby George were able to dupe folks into backing are, in fact, flawed on a constitutional level. Essentially his plan has backfired, and backfired largely because it was a broken, offensive, discriminatory, and, yes, unconstitutional plan from the very beginning.

And now Robby George's answer is to tell the GOP, and eventually the broader pubic, that they get a do-over on this thing? The out of here with that noise! Off what capital does he, one of the chief orchestrators of this whole fart cloud of unfairness toward his fellow citizen, believe he gets to buy this next act? I mean, yes, I know it's just like the ego-driven thinkers within the socially conservative wing of the GOP to insist that they always—every time, in every case, in every instance—get the last word. And of course I know that they see any court test with which they disagree as nothing more than a mere suggestion for them to discuss and debate at cocktail parties rather than adhere to as the fair decisions that they are. But when you're a party thinker who tried to sell such a damning lie to both your party and the public and your efforts blow up in a way as seismic as this, it takes an extra level of hubris to suggest that you now know where the reset button is located, and that you know the rationale behind hitting it. This is particularly true if your rationale is coupled with obviously pointed and political references to the most ignoble Supreme Court decision you can recall.

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