As to hot-button “social issues,” Trump’s election will likely mean the end of pro-liberty decisions from the Supreme Court. Don’t be fooled by Trump’s reasonable-sounding assurances that he’s okay with same-sex marriage and that his judicial appointees would just send the abortion issue back to the states – all sounds so innocuous, no?
Well it’s nonsense. It doesn’t matter whether Trump is okay with same-sex marriage because the constitutional issues surrounding same-sex marriage are not decided by the president. What the president does decide is who sits on the Supreme Court – and whoever sits on the Supreme Court decides, in turn, whether women control their reproductive lives or gays get to marry. Trump’s acquiescence to Caitlin Jenner using the ladies’ room in Trump Tower is not a guarantor of LGBT rights under a Trump-appointed judiciary.
Trump must put right-wing justices (hard-line social conservatives) on the Court or he loses his base – it’s that simple. If there’s one bone a Republican president must throw to his rabid, frothing core constituency, it’s the Court – because, for reasons that were never clear to me, conservatives understand the importance of the Supreme Court in our daily lives far better than liberals do.
So Scalia will be replaced with another Scalia. If something happens to Ginsburg (age 82), Kennedy (80), or Breyer (78), they’ll get replaced with Scalia types too. (For those keeping score at home, that’s two liberals and a swing vote.) If Trump gets to replace one of those three (along with Scalia), Roe v Wade is history. Same-sex marriage might be as well.
And when Trump talks about sending these issues back to the states, let’s be clear: he’s talking about the ignorant rubes who populate vast swaths of Red America getting to decide whether to criminalize your choices or your identity. I wonder how they’ll handle that newfound power to control the lives of those they already hold in contempt.
It seems that many who voted for Trump now seek to soothe their doubts about what they’ve done to the American judiciary with the balm of “he won’t be as bad as he seems.” It’s poppycock. If you voted for Trump, own it. You voted against women’s autonomy and LGBT rights. That’s what you did, and that’s who you are.
As for the rest of us, we need to gear up for the fight ahead without being lulled into catatonic neutrality. It’s going to get ugly.