Sunday, October 11, 2015

Anti-gay right sloppily dredge up 60 'legal scholars' to oppose Obergefell decision

Supposedly ' over 60 legal scholars' oppose Obergefell vs. Hodges decision.  Not quite.

Supporters of marriage equality (which is now LEGAL in all 50 states) should be on the lookout for the following bit of subterfuge which I gleaned from the webpage of the Americans Principles Project. The entire statement is too long to be printed, therefore I am posting an excerpt :

Statement Calling for Constitutional Resistance to Obergefell v. Hodges 

 . . . We stand with James Madison and Abraham Lincoln in recognizing that the Constitution is not whatever a majority of Supreme Court justices say it is. 

We remind all officeholders in the United States that they are pledged to uphold the Constitution of the United States, not the will of five members of the Supreme Court.  

We call on all federal and state officeholders: 

To refuse to accept Obergefell as binding precedent for all but the specific plaintiffs in that case.
To recognize the authority of states to define marriage, and the right of federal and state officeholders to act in accordance with those definitions.

To pledge full and mutual legal and political assistance to anyone who refuses to follow Obergefell for constitutionally protected reasons.

To open forthwith a broad and honest conversation on the means by which Americans may constitutionally resist and overturn the judicial usurpations evident in Obergefell.
We emphasize that the course of action we are here advocating is neither extreme nor disrespectful of the rule of law. Lincoln regarded the claim of supremacy for the Supreme Court in matters of constitutional interpretation as incompatible with the republican principles of the Constitution. Our position is summed up in Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address . . .

So what exactly is this? Well according to the National Organization for Marriage and anti-gay talking head Michael Brown, it's a statement made by "over 60 prominent legal scholars" who felt compelled, on the basis of their expertise, to announce that Obergefell vs. Hodges (the case which legalized marriage equality) should be resisted because it was wrongly decided.

Their reasoning makes no sense. However, I find their reasoning irrelevant when one takes a look at the signers of the statement , i.e. the so-called "prominent legal scholars." 

I list a few just as they are listed on the statement but also took the liberty to include certain omitted details in italics:

Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University, Founder of American Principles Project (George is one of the founders of the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes marriage equality. And he was also one of the main arranger of the funds given to Professor Mark Regnerus to conduct a study on gay parenting study, which has since been discredited. The study was created as an attempt to sway the Supreme Court against marriage equality)

John C. Eastman, Henry Salvatori Professor of Law & Community Service, Dale E. Fowler School of Law at Chapman University (the present chair of the National Organization for Marriage)

George W. Dent, Jr., Professor of Law, Case Western Reserve University School of Law (Dent supplied the discredited information which the defenders of DOMA used in court to unsuccessfully defend that law.)

 Matthew J. Franck, Director, William E. and Carol G. Simon Center for Religion and the Constitution, Witherspoon Institute (Franck made the outrageous claim that judicial decisions for marriage equality was akin to the Dred Scott decision of 1857, which further stripped African-Americans of their humanity. His organization, the Witherspoon Institute, also contributed funds to Regnerus' discredited anti-gay parenting study.)

Walter Schumm, Professor of Family Studies, Kansas State University (Schumm has been criticized for shoddy research against lgbt equality. His  "expert testimony" against gay adoption in Florida  in 2010 was negatively called out by a lower court and an appeals court.

Lynne Marie Kohm, John Brown McCarty Professor of Family Law and Associate Dean of Faculty Development and External Affairs, Regent University School of Law (Regent University has fallen under a lot of criticism due to its stated goal  to "use the law to further the kingdom of God")

It's relatively easy for someone like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council  to vaguely cite the truncated "fact" that "60 legal scholars"  oppose Obergefell vs. Hodges decision without giving pertinent information about some of these "scholars.". In fact, I anticipate that Perkins, and several others on the right, will most likely do so.

However, it doesn't change anything. Marriage equality is the law of the land. And best of all, opponents of marriage equality continue to mire themselves in the same lies and oblivious lack of self-awareness which eventually caused them to lose the fight against marriage equality in the first place.

I swear, a part of me misses the days when highly immoral, questionable acts were done with a degree of covert style and technique instead of the mistaken belief that one can get away with lying openly and unashamedly.

Editor's note - The site which trumpeted the letter, Americans Principles Project was founded by Robert P. George and has former NOM head Maggie Gallagher on its board.

Related post:  Marriage Equality Opponents Need to Admit Actual Reason for Their Loss