Perspectives; Thoughts; Comments; Opinions; Discussions

Posts tagged ‘DOBBS V. JACKSON’

The ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ Is an Exercise in Tyranny, And Everyone Knows It


BY: JOHN DANIEL DAVIDSON | NOVEMBER 22, 2022

Read more at https://www.conservativereview.com/the-respect-for-marriage-act-is-an-exercise-in-tyranny-and-everyone-knows-it-2658765809.html/

Obergefell rally in front of SCOTUS
The 12 Republicans who voted to advance the bill last week are gaslighting the American public about its real purpose.

It’s not hard to game out what happens if the misnamed Respect for Marriage Act passes, codifying Obergefell and enshrining gay marriage in federal law. Everyone, including the dozen Republican senators who voted to advance the legislation last week, knows exactly what will happen. It’s not some big mystery. 

What will happen is this: Christians, Jews, Muslims, and anyone else who dares maintain that marriage is a lifelong conjugal union between one man and one woman — the definition of marriage for thousands of years until the U.S. Supreme Court descended from Mount Sinai with Obergefell v. Hodges inscribed on stone tablets — will be branded a bigot and driven from the public square and marketplace.

Anyone who owns a small business related to the wedding industry — photographers, bakers, website designers, venue owners, caterers, florists — will be sued into oblivion if they refuse services to same-sex couples. Religious colleges and universities will lose their tax-exempt status. Religious institutions of every kind, if they hold to their teachings and traditions about marriage, will face an onslaught from the Department of Justice and the federal bureaucracy. 

To paraphrase George Orwell’s famous line, if you want a picture of the future under the Respect for Marriage Act, imagine a boot stamping on Jack Phillips’ face — forever. 

The untrammeled exercise of power and the vigorous crushing of dissent is the entire purpose of the proposed law. There can be no other possible justification for it. Michael New, an assistant professor at the Busch School of Business at The Catholic University of America, recently told The Daily Signal that Catholic colleges and universities in particular might face ruinous lawsuits and loss of federal funding if the bill is signed into law.

“Suppose a Catholic college refused to allow a same-sex married couple to live in college owned graduate student housing for families, they might be subject to all kinds of litigation,” he said. “Such a college might lose its nonprofit status. Their students might lose eligibility for federal financial aid and their faculty might lose eligibility from research grants from government agencies.”

Well, yes. Of course all that would happen. Democrats and left-wing activists hear these kinds of concerns from people like New and think, “Good. Let them face ruinous litigation. Let them lose funding. Ghettoize them. Crush them. Grind their institutions into dust. They deserve it, the bigots.”

All the more appalling, then, that 12 Republican senators voted to advance the bill knowing full well what it will do. One wishes the explanation is just that these lawmakers are too stupid to understand what the purpose of the proposed law really is and what its effect will obviously be, but that’s wishful thinking. If they’re going to support this bill, though, do they have to pretend that we’re all too stupid to understand how it will work? Does Dan Sullivan, the second-worst U.S. senator from Alaska, who once supported a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in the long-ago of 2014, really believe that the Respect for Marriage Act makes “important advances” in religious liberty? Does Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who 10 years ago as speaker of the statehouse supported a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in his state, really think the anemic amendments he and other GOP senators offered to the bill will “advance religious freedom” and “age well”?

All the Republicans who voted to advance the bill last week issued some version of the nonsense Sullivan and Tillis spouted. None of them believe a word of it. They just hope you buy it.

But you don’t have to. Roger Severino of the Heritage Foundation helpfully walked through these specious claims one by one, explaining why they’re wrong. No, the bill won’t provide religious institutions with meaningful protections. Yes, the bill could certainly be used as a basis for the Internal Revenue Service to deny tax-exempt status to religious organizations that don’t toe the line on gay marriage. Yes, it could also be used to deny grants, licenses, or contracts. No, weak language about preserving the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is not enough to prevent harm to religious liberty. And so on.

The justification for the bill is just as outlandish and offensive as the argument that it presents no danger to religious Americans. In the wake of the Dobbs decision this summer, we were warned that some future Supreme Court opinion, following Justice Clarence Thomas’s logic, could overturn Obergefell and other substantive due process rulings such as Loving v. Virginia, which struck down state laws banning interracial marriage.

The purpose of this claim, in case it isn’t bone-crushingly obvious, is to lump opponents of gay marriage in with opponents of interracial marriage, to smear them as bigots who aren’t just on the wrong side of history, but who are about to be on the receiving end of a federal government empowered to go after them.

And if you think that can’t really be how proponents of the Respect for Marriage Act think about traditional-minded Americans, go ask Jack Phillips how he’s faring after winning his Supreme Court case in 2018.


John Daniel Davidson is a senior editor at The Federalist. His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Claremont Review of Books, The New York Post, and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter, @johnddavidson.

The Big Midterm Lesson: Defensive ‘Victories’ on the Right Aren’t Going to Save The Country


BY: JOHN DANIEL DAVIDSON | NOVEMBER 10, 2022

Read more at https://www.conservativereview.com/the-big-midterm-lesson-defensive-victories-on-the-right-arent-going-to-save-the-country-2658627186.html/

Ron DeSantis speaking into a mic onstage
Republicans won big in places where GOP leaders leaned into the culture war and passed abortion restrictions. That’s no accident.

Author John Daniel Davidson profile

JOHN DANIEL DAVIDSON

VISIT ON TWITTER@JOHNDDAVIDSON

MORE ARTICLES

If there’s a clear lesson to come out of Tuesday night’s bizarre midterm election, it’s that Republicans can no longer be content with defensive victories or defensive politics. To win political power and do what must be done to save the country, Republicans will have to go on offense, present a compelling vision for the future, and engage culture war issues like abortion and critical race theory without apologies. 

When they do that, they win. But it stands in stark contrast to the perennial advice of Beltway GOP consultants, who think it best to avoid major culture war issues like abortion. Indeed, the “official narrative” of corporate media in the wake of Tuesday’s midterms is that abortion was a big winner for Democrats, who supposedly capitalized on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade, successfully making abortion a major electoral issue and blunting a red wave by boosting turnout among young, pro-abortion voters. 

It sounds good, but it’s not quite right. Republicans who didn’t shy away from talking about abortion after Dobbs, and who signed into law abortion legislation earlier this year without flinching or apologizing, did really well — they were Tuesday night’s winners. As Marc Thiessen noted on Fox News, Republican governors in Ohio, Georgia, New Hampshire, Texas, and Florida all signed post-Dobbs abortion restrictions, and they all won reelection by comfortable margins. 

That’s not to say abortion was a non-factor. Democrats squeezed every last electoral drop they could out of Dobbsspending $320 million on abortion-related TV ads (much more than on all other issues combined) which helped motivate a voter base that might have otherwise been depressed.

Still, there was a clear contrast between Republicans who heeded the advice of Beltway consultants and tried to dodge abortion questions or take a noncommittal stance and those who defended their anti-abortion positions and pushed for post-Roe legislation. Only one of those groups fared well Tuesday.

The larger lesson here is that Republican candidates should lean into the culture war and make no apologies for their positions, even on contentious issues like abortion. Fighting back against the left, it turns out, is what a lot of voters on the right want from Republicans.

Consider what Ron DeSantis achieved in Florida, winning 60 percent of the vote after narrowly eking out a victory four years ago. He did that by not shying away from big, high-profile fights over hot-button culture war issues like critical race theory and transgender indoctrination. Glenn Youngkin did the same thing last November to pull off an upset in the Virginia governor’s race.

But DeSantis and Youngkin are, sadly, exceptions to the general rule that Republicans tend to be reactionary and defensive. Indeed, the failure of the conservative movement is largely attributable to this default defensiveness, and it needs to end. For decades, conservatives whined about just wanting to be left alone even as the radical left was marching through our institutions and transforming society, showing us at every turn they had no intention of leaving us alone. Yet some on the right still don’t seem to get it. On Tuesday morning, anticipating a red wave, Ben Shapiro tweeted: “The mandate for Republicans will be to stop Biden’s terrible agenda dead. It will not be to make very loud but tactically foolish moves.”

Shapiro didn’t specify what he meant by “very loud but tactically foolish moves,” but he followed it up with this:

Sorry, but the era of normalcy and being left alone is over. The left will never leave us alone. They want to win and wield power, and if we want to stop them, we will have to win and wield power ourselves. Conservatives who want to be left alone will simply lose, as they have been for decades now.

Those like Shapiro who long to be left alone are also apt to argue that the conservative project has been moderately successful over the years, moving slowly to notch wins. Look at Dobbs. Look at religious liberty and the Second Amendment. Look at all the good judges appointed to the federal bench during the Trump administration.

But this is a cope. Yes, there have been a few victories for conservatives. The Dobbs decision was the greatest policy victory of the conservative cause in a generation, and it was due mostly to the dogged work of the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, two institutions often unfairly maligned as “Conservative, Inc.” by the New Right, and — at least before Dobbs dropped — dismissed as failures.

Yet even the Dobbs decision was a defensive victory, handed down like a gift from on high by the Supreme Court. But it didn’t end legal abortion, and indeed the ruling itself bent over backward to avoid the broader implications of its own constitutional logic, which, as Justice Clarence Thomas explained in his concurring opinion, calls into question the constitutionality of substantive due process and the long train of Supreme Court rulings that have followed its invention more than a century ago.

As Dobbs itself suggests, defensive victories delivered by the federal judiciary aren’t going to reverse what has been, with few setbacks, a relentless, decades-long march by the left through every institution of American life. Anyone who tells you things aren’t that bad because we happen to have five mostly reliable Supreme Court justices is either delusional or quietly willing to acquiesce to leftist tyranny.

They’re probably also inclined to think Republicans didn’t really do so bad in the midterms, and that what Americans really want is just some tinkering with Social Security and the welfare state. Nothing too loud and tactically foolish. That’s more or less Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s plan if he becomes speaker of the House. After all, the country just wants to heal.

No. The country does not want to heal. It does not want “some semblance of normalcy.” There are two diametrically opposed moral systems at war right now in America, and it’s not enough at this late hour to be content with the status quo, to repose in the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and hope the five good justices will somehow stop the revolutionaries.  

Just look at the successful pro-abortion midterm referendums in Michigan, Vermont, and California, where the right to kill the unborn is now enshrined in those states’ constitutions. What’s true of the abortion issue is true of nearly every other major issue in American public life. Being passive and defensive is not going to cut it. If Republicans want to win, they’d better be willing to fight. Let’s hope they are. The future of the republic depends on it.


John Daniel Davidson is a senior editor at The Federalist. His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Claremont Review of Books, The New York Post, and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter, @johnddavidson.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: