ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight wrote this column appearing December 10, 2010 on The Washington Times website.
As the nation lurches back toward well-founded suspicion of big government, the ruling elites are putting the pedal to the metal against the moral foundations.
In a matter of months, three liberal federal judges struck down California’s constitutional marriage amendment, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and the military’s law barring homosexuality. Why mess around with legislators when federal judges can create havoc with the stroke of a pen?
Sometimes just the threat of a wacko liberal ruling is enough to drive policy. That seems to be the reasoning behind Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates warning Congress to homosexualize the military before the courts do it. He said it would be disruptive if a court acts, so Congress should order up the lavender tanks instead.
I don’t recall a single reporter asking Mr. Gates why, if ending the policy by court order would harm the military, it would be less disruptive if done by the lame-duck Congress. Mr. Gates himself hinted at the answer: Training (i.e. brainwashing) could begin earlier. Think about that. Troops drawn from America’s heartland will be “trained” to appreciate sodomy – or else. Wonder if they’ll break out those little Maoist dunce caps while they’re at it?
The military keeps ducking bullets in the Senate. A procedural vote on the policy failed to overcome a Republican filibuster on Thursday – just barely. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut seem determined to jam it through in a separate bill.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs warned before the vote: “Either Congress is going to solve this legislatively, or the courts are going to solve this. The policy is going to come to an end.” Who cares if the Pentagon’s recent survey shows that Army and Marine combat troops overwhelmingly oppose lifting the policy?
Despite the treachery still being hatched in the Senate, most of the dirty work to redefine morality as bigotry has been initiated in the courts.
It was a California federal judge, Virginia A. Philips, who struck down the military’s law in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States of America. She then issued a dictum to the entire armed forces here and abroad to make bases homosexual-friendly. Before the 9th Circuit issued a temporary halt to her order, President Obama’s Pentagon suspended the policy, then made it more difficult to enforce.
Meanwhile, on Dec. 6, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the challenge to California’s Proposition 8 marriage amendment. A ruling is expected within three to 12 months. The case will then go to the full 9th Circuit or directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In November 2008, more than 7 million Californians voted for Proposition 8, which amended the state constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. From the beginning, it was clear that California’s ruling elites were working to destroy marriage. Attorney General Jerry Brown and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger violated their oaths of office by refusing to defend Proposition 8.
The case mysteriously keeps winding up before left-wing activist judges. Openly gay U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker used it as a platform to promote homosexuality and disparage traditional religious beliefs. He equated biblical morality with prejudice and struck down Proposition 8.
The case then went to the 9th’s three-judge panel, with two Democratic appointees and one Republican. One of them, Jimmy Carter appointee Stephen Reinhardt, is married to Ramona Ripston, executive director of the Southern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. That’s the group that took a lead role in opposing Proposition 8, counseled plaintiffs and filed an amicus brief.
Addressing this blatant conflict of interest, Judge Reinhardt brushed it aside, saying, “I will be able to rule impartially.” Sure he will, like he did in the 2002 case in which he decided to strike the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. Judge Reinhardt is the poster boy for loony-left federal jurists.
The ruling elites are, by hook or by crook, trying to make over America in their own corrupt image. The American people should be outraged by this pattern of legal activism, which flouts the U.S. and state constitutions, the will of the people and basic rules of court conduct.
In his dissent in Romer v. Evans (1996), in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Colorado’s Amendment 2, a popularly approved law that barred misapplying civil rights status to “sexual orientation,” Justice Antonin Scalia pinpointed the problem:
This court has no business imposing upon all Americans the resolution favored by the elite class from which the Members of this institution are selected, pronouncing that ‘animosity’ toward homosexuality … is evil. I vigorously dissent.
Later, in his dissent in Lawrence v. Texas (2003), in which the court cited international opinion in overturning the Texas sodomy law, Justice Scalia wrote:
Today’s opinion is the product of a Court, which is the product of a law-profession culture, that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda, by which I mean the agenda promoted by some homosexual activists directed at eliminating the moral opprobrium that has traditionally attached to homosexual conduct.
Well, to accomplish that, they’re going to have to burn all the Bibles, suspend the workings of biology and scrub the history books clean of 5,000 years of the universal understanding that sex belongs between men and women in marriage. And they’re going to have to wipe out the First Amendment while they’re at it.
That’s no small feat, even for Masters of the Universe like Judge Reinhardt, Mr. Obama and Mr. Gates.