At times Justice Amy Coney Barrett likes to make small gestures indicating that she is moving towards the center of the Supreme Court political makeup. This is mostly posturing and nonsense of course, as there is no “center” in the construct of SCOTUS, only a small minority moderate-left contingent and the six vote conservative majority who depart from each other only by small degrees, and, most often only in small cases, from its hard-core right consensus. Whether or not such departures from orthodoxy result from say Barrett’s or sometimes Gorsuch and Kavanaugh‘s true convictions on some issues, it is clear by now that in matters of interest to the institutions on the right and to its rabid MAGA base the Republican appointees of the court will close ranks and invariably do the wrong thing.

A case that illustrates this was decided last week with a six to three conservative majority which ruled that contrary to long practice and precedent American citizens have no inherent right to marry their non-citizen spouses. The author of the majority decision was Coney Barrett whom Justice Sonya Sotomayor promptly took to task in her dissent.

Slate Magazine reports on the decision and features a spirited interview with activist Sherrilyn Ifill:

Slate Magazine

“The Supreme Court dealt a blow to the fundamental rights of married couples on Friday in an important and ominous immigration case, Department of State v. Muñoz. Justice Amy Coney Barrett held—over the dissent of all three liberals—that American citizens have no constitutional “liberty interest” in living with their foreign spouses, denying them the most basic protections against arbitrary government discrimination. Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s fierce dissent condemned Barrett’s opinion as, among other things, an unsubtle assault on marriage equality for LGBTQ+ Americans.

On Saturday’s episode of Amicus, Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern discussed the Muñoz decision and its alarming ramifications for the constitutional right to marry. Their conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.“

(Slate) – So how does Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s majority opinion turn this case into an arrow aimed straight at the heart of marriage equality?

(Ifill) – Well, to start, the majority ruled against Muñoz. Barrett wrote that, no, you do not have a right to be given the reason for your spouse’s visa denial. The majority could have stopped there, but it didn’t. Instead, for the first time ever, it held that there is in fact no liberty interest under the Constitution for an American citizen “to live with her spouse in her country of citizenship.” The State Department could do anything it wanted because there was no constitutional right at play.

(Slate) – It’s worth noting that the court didn’t even need to get into this discussion of marital rights, correct? Justice Gorsuch has an uncharacteristically restrained, un-Gorsuch-y concurrence saying his conservative colleagues didn’t need to get that far.

(Ifill) – That’s exactly right, because the government has already given Muñoz the reason it denied the visa. It gave her what she asked for! Now, that reason is dubious: The government claimed he had gang tattoos, which doesn’t appear to be true, and she contests it. But because it gave her the answer she demanded, this appeal should’ve been over. Gorsuch says, basically, “I don’t understand why the majority keeps going when Ms. Muñoz has already gotten the relief she sought.” She would be free to seek the visa again. But the majority was hungry to go further, as Justice Sotomayor said in her dissent. The majority wanted to cut back the constitutional right to marry, so it weaponized this case as a cudgel against that right, rather than practicing judicial restraint.“

You can read the whole discussion at the provided link.

I find it interesting (and rather frightening) that Barrett wrote the majority decision as – as has been well documented – she in her own past exhibited a willingness to at least entertain alternatives to tradition marriage… as long as those alternatives fall inside her OWN faith beliefs:

Washington Post

“A 2010 People of Praise directory states that she held the title of “handmaid,” a leadership position for women in the community, according to a directory excerpt obtained by The Washington Post.

Also, while in law school, Barrett lived at the South Bend home of People of Praise’s influential co-founder Kevin Ranaghan and his wife, Dorothy, who together helped establish the group’s male-dominated hierarchy and view of gender roles. The group was one of many to grow out of the charismatic Christian movement, which sought a more intense and communal religious experience by embracing such practices as shared living, faith healing and speaking in tongues.“

While the right wing of SCOTUS definitely has a vested interest in destroying the liberties Americans have for many years enjoyed comcerning their right to marry outside their citizenship and having those marriages duly recognized by their government as long as sincerely entered into, I agree with Justice Sotomayor that this decision, and particularly the Justice chosen to convey it to history and the public could signal their next crusade to exclude same sex couples from enjoying that same right, and define marriage… as they know it.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. “The group was one of many to grow out of the charismatic Christian movement, which sought a more intense and communal religious experience…”

    So ACB lives in a commune…doesn’t that make her a communist?!?

    Ach, the irony. Between her and Eric Trump’s “dad is the most honest person…” crap, these people are really killing irony, two a day at a time.

    13
  2. Hey Amy…when the Russians and allies stormed into Berlin, did those robes the nazi Supreme Court wore stop any bullets? Just call me curious in case this country falls into fascism.
    Reminds me of the final scene in Shooter where Ned beatty, facing the barrel of a gun, says, “I’m a sitting United States senator”, and Mark Walberg says, “exactly”, and shoots him in the head. Your arrogance and false sense of entitled invincibility is astounding. Keep it up you nazi bitch.

  3. The reason I call this tw*t “the vagina that replaced the Mighty RBG” is because that is all she is. There is no functioning, reasoning, educated brain in her little skull. She is an embarrassment to our nation but more importantly an embarrassment to every woman studying hard and/or accomplishing much. She was put on the court because of her genitalia. Period. This is no different than when thomas was put on this court because he was black. Period.

    There are intelligent, well-educated, and accomplished women well versed in constitutional law. If Von Shitzinpants was looking for a replacement for RBG why not one of them instead of the vagina? I know this answer of course but having this tw*t, beer bong, thomas, alito…on the s.c. is shameful.

  4. “my karma was to be born into America where nobody has any fun and nobody believes in anything, especially freedom.” Jack Kerouac…The Dharma Bums
    How phucking true Jack.

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