Politicians on the right and left are reacting to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling yesterday in Bostock v. Clayton County, a decision which extended federal non-discrimination employment law protection to homosexuals and transgender individuals. The high court ruled that the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s inclusion of “sex” as a protected category was broad enough to embrace the two new categories, an extension which Congress has repeatedly rejected over the years.
Democrats seem uniformly elated at the decision.
Former Vice President Joe Biden released a statement saying in part, “This decision is another step in our march towards equality for all. And while we celebrate this victory today, we know that our work is not yet done. As President, I look forward to signing into law the Equality Act, protecting the civil rights of LGBTQ+ Americans, and championing equal rights for all Americans. Happy Pride!”
Hillary Clinton tweeted, “Being who you are shouldn’t be a fireable offense, and today the Supreme Court has affirmed that truth for the LGBTQ community under our laws. It’s a victory for liberty and justice for all. Happy Pride.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tweeted, “The Supreme Court’s ruling today secures critical protections for LGBTQ Americans across the country – but it’s far from the end. Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans must stop holding up the #EqualityAct and finally vote for progress.”
Republicans expressed differing reactions to the decision.
President Trump appeared resigned to the Supreme Court’s ruling, saying, “Some people were surprised. But they’ve ruled and we live with their decision. That’s what it’s all about. We live with the decision of the Supreme Court. Very powerful. A very powerful decision actually. But they have so ruled.”
Senator Ted Cruz, R-Tx, criticized the decision, according to Politico, “This judicial rewriting of our laws short-circuited the legislative process and the authority of the electorate,” he said. “Six un-elected and unaccountable judges instead took it upon themselves to act as legislators, and that undermines our democratic process.”
Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo., also expressed his disappointment. “The court is legislating what they think is good policy. And that, to me though, that’s really not their role. I mean I don’t particularly care about their views on policy. The right answer is ‘over to Congress’ to do something about it.”
Conservative religious leaders criticized not only the Court’s usurpation of Congress’ authority to legislate, but they expressed concern over the long-term impact of the decision on religious freedom.
Jim Daly, President of Focus on the Family, quoting from Justice Samuel Alito’s dissenting opinion, said, “There is only one word for what the Court has done today: legislation.” Continuing, Daly observed, “Our concern now is for how future courts and public officials will apply this decision against people of deep faith who own businesses, run religious educational institutions and continue to adhere to the biblical definitions of marriage and family. I fear this increasingly legislative-oriented majority has sown the wind and now innocent people of good will and faith will reap the whirlwind.”
Dr. Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, wrote, “ The ruling also will have seismic implications for religious liberty, setting off potentially years of lawsuits and court struggles, about what this means, for example, for religious organizations with religious convictions about the meaning of sex and sexuality.”
Dr. R. Albert Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, pointed to future issues with women’s sports, privacy issues with bathrooms and locker rooms, employment and housing concerns with educational institutions, and religious liberty in general: “[W]e as Christians have to understand that this is a head-on collision when it comes to religious liberty and the sexual revolution,” he says. “And in this case, it is aided and abetted, indeed even accelerated by, the six-justice majority of the U.S. Supreme Court, with none other than the Trump-appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing the majority opinion.”
The Bostock decision does have implications for religious liberty and the practical effects on privacy and safety in locker rooms and restrooms. But Robert P. George, Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, pointed to a deeper consequence: the long, slow death of the “Rule of Law” in our nation. As judges – appointed by both Democrats and Republicans – legislate from the bench, they undermine and destroy the Rule of Law.
George argued that the tragedy of the Bostock decision was that Gorsuch failed to provide “a faithful application of the Constitution and laws as written.” He continued: “Such failures always wound the Rule of Law. Coming on top of so many other cases in recent decades, this one may finally discredit it in the eyes of many who have struggled to retain their faith in it.”