Gorsuch, LGBTQs, & the Rightwing Freakout

From “The Bulwark,” a Never Trump blog run by Charlie Sykes, an anti-Trump/somewhat repentant/former right wing radio talk show host.

Trigger warning: this post quotes numerous conservatives who are freaking out over the Supreme Court’s LGBTQ ruling, and who approve of homophobic bigotry.

For those who wonder why I post such stuff, here are some of my reasons:

1. Much of the writing is snappy, vivid & interesting.

2. Also much of it is self-critical. In this it sets an example some woke folks might well follow.

3. For me, reading right wingers (in measured doses) offers a chance to bone up on arguments & materials which might one day help change a few right wing minds. (Hey— it happens, and it HAS happened a lot on these issues in recent decades.)

4. Because my guru Sun Tzu said I should.

Some will remember that Sun Tzu wrote a classic pacifist book, which is required reading for all wannabe peaceniks. It’s as valuable page for page as the Bible (plus a helluva lot shorter), and called “The Art of War.”

In it Sun Tzu devotes a whole chapter to the importance of spies to success in war. His point, in sum, is that to succeed in war (& other conflicts), Know Your Freekin Enemy.

I take his point. So for me, reading right wingers (in measured doses) is my version of such spying; or as college grads call it, intelligence gathering. I believe, as Sun Tzu did,  it works.

Some readers may find exposure to the ugliness of much of the thinking and practice described here difficult; they are authorized to skip it.

Note: This article [excerpted from The Bulwark blog] includes drag queen themes and graphic images. [Further note: the images have been omitted here.] It was written by Tim Miller, a Republican media consultant.

Bulwark: The Supreme Court ruling to protect Americans from being fired for their sexuality is the latest betrayal that degrades family, community, industrial bases, and nations!!

That lede might seem a bit dramatic—nay, flamboyant!—to you. But the people of Appalachia put Donald Trump in office precisely because their lives could not improve unless queers and transgenders could be fired willy-nilly by their employers.

The expert on such matters—America’s own hillbilly-whisperer-cum-Hollywood-producer, J.D. Vance {author of the best-seller Hillbilly Elegy]—said as much following Monday’s ruling.

{NOTE: Vance’s complete tweet was: “The next (and perhaps most important) step is for social conservatives to realize that donor economics is not merely incidental. It flows from, and reinforces, principles that degrade family, community, industrial bases, and nations.”}

And while Vance’s warning about the end of nations may have been a rococo response to the Supreme Court decision holding that the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s prohibition on sex discrimination in employment also banned employee termination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, he was joined by a parade of conservatives for whom BUT GORSUCH has gone from a Trumpist clarion call to an incubus that haunts their dreams.

If you’ll allow me a brief respite from the schadenfreude, here follows an interlude on the merits of the matter at hand.

I am not a lawyer and I won’t play one on TheBulwarkDOTCOM. . . .

Look, I’m sure there are some good faith constitutional scholars out there who have genuine objections to Monday’s ruling and the legal implications therein. So let’s assume that a good-faith objection can be made.

What we do not have to assume is that a lot of the “constitutional scholars” presently huffing and puffing had zero interest in legal theory. They had an outcome they wanted and they just want someone who is willing to vote with the team and justify it in whatever means necessary

{NOTE: The blog here links to another rightwing apparatchik’s tweet, from one Sean Davis, to wit:

“The Supreme Court is not a court of law. It is a super-legislature run by nine politicians with lifetime tenure. Conservatives need to stop picking justices based on promises from nominees about how they’ll analyze cases and start picking individuals who will vote correctly.”}

Bulwark: And another thing we do not have to assume is that Monday’s landmark ruling of Bostock v. Clayton County will  bring long-overdue protection to the workplace. Because while many people seemed surprised that the risk of job loss over sexuality is still something to be concerned about in the Year of Our Lord 2020, I’m here to report that outside the big city pockets of fabulousness along the coasts, there are many gay, lesbian, and transgender Americans who have lost jobs, been forced to hide their sexuality or gender identity, or been discriminated against in their places of employment. I have heard their stories and been called to their aid.

I once called a gay friend-of-a-friend—you may have heard about our mafia—who runs a company so I could ask him to interview a person who needed a job because he had been fired for being gay. He told me something to the effect of: “If I hired every gay who had been cast out of their job we wouldn’t have room for anyone else in the company.”

So for those who think this was just virtue signaling from the bench, or that gays are not treated differently from their straight counterparts, I’d like to disabuse you of that notion.

Many, many people worked very hard to make Bostock a reality for decades. I salute them and am indebted to their effort. . . .

And yet, on Monday the very people who have been triggered by drag-queen story hour had their illiberal fantasies dashed—crucified?—by a conservative man in a dress. Even in this vale of tears, life does sometimes deliver us small joys.

Consider Sohrab Ahmari, the former Muslim, turned atheist, turned socialist, turned free marketeer, turned passionate advocate for classical liberalism.

This year Ahmari is crusading for a Catholic theocratic junta. And so, having previously celebrated the great and good Supreme Court appointments of Donald Trump, he surveyed the Bostock ruling, declared it “disordered and bizarre,” and announced that it was proof that “originalism has failed.”

In a series of tweets later that afternoon, Ahmari said that this ruling was the moment to leave classical liberalism behind once and for all in favor of ordered liberty that upholds traditional values. (That same afternoon the newspaper whose opinion section Ahmari edits tweeted a picture of Central Park that included two visible male erections. State-managed ordered liberty is a great idea—just so long as it doesn’t interfere with you drawing a paycheck.)

Ahmari wasn’t the only keyboard warrior in Operation Rolling Thunderfuck {NOTE: “Thunderfuck is the stage name of a drag performer.}

Another of them, Josh Hammer, wrote a piece for the New York Post titled: “Neil Gorsuch slapped conservatives by creating new gay rights.” (It is of note that the same headline could’ve been written by Towleroad, {NOTE: “Towleroad” is a website for LGBTQ news and comment, founded by Andy Towle, a gay journalist, editor and traveler.} though they probably would’ve added some additional color to “slapped.”)

Hammer goes on to describe as “harrowing” the threat to conservatism that comes from gays being extended the right to not be fired for being gay. (Not mentioned as harrowing: being fired for being gay.)

Hammer specifically cites the outrage that Catholic schools can no longer fire teachers “whose sexual lifestyle blatantly flouts millennia of Catholic moral teaching.” Set aside the fact that the Court’s Monday ruling does not settle the relevant religious-liberty questions. {NOTE: I am also expecting the Supreme Court to punch holes in its own decision with significant carve-outs.}

What’s striking is Hammer’s concern about Catholic schools being allowed to keep firing gays, which seems to make up the preponderance of the schools’ firings—you don’t seem to hear nearly so much about Catholic schools firing straight teachers for living in sin with their significant others, or for divorce or masturbating or various other violations of Catholic doctrine.

But the hissy fit didn’t just happen over at the New York Post.

At the Conservative Review, Daniel Horowitz sent several tweets decrying the “right to transgenderism,” declared that the GOP is now the “Transgender Party” (if only!), and suggested that this is just one step on the path to rape victims being sent to reeducation camps for complaining about being sodomized in a woman’s bathroom by a cross-dresser.

At the Daily Wire, Michael Knowles said that Gorsuch redefined “the most fundamental aspect of our nature” and proffered that most conservatives prefer to be cucked than to do something to upset the status quo. (Nothing upsets the status quo more than giving a pink slip to the privileged homos.)

{NOTE: Knowles added; “No ruling [Gorsuch] might make in the future could counteract that radicalism. Conservatives will count him among the worst jurists in the history of the United States.}

Bulwark: Though, to be fair, Knowles concluded that this decision might make Gorsuch an accelerationist, a term that has gained recent favor on the far right, describing (favorably) events that will hasten a race war and lead to a white ethnostate.

The Judicial Crisis Network’s Carrie Severino declared that the Bostock decision was an “imposter parading as originalism” and an “ominous sign for anyone concerned about the future of representative democracy.”

Over at Judicial Watch, Tom Fitton declared Bostock “an attack on our republican form of government.”

Degrading nations. Causing the advancement of the white ethnostate. Putting the very existence of representative democracy at threat. Well, that’s just another Monday for the gays.

For Neil Gorsuch on the other hand, this is new territory.

Unfortunately for the mild-mannered Coloradan, he has found himself in the crosshairs of the ultimate marginalized group: the zealots who sold their soul to a Bad Orange Man and no longer like what they got in the deal. The only question is whether the end of BUT GORSUCH is enough to make them finally sashay away from their heathen president.


Few rightwingers were more angry than Gorsuch’s fellow Supreme Court justice, Samuel Alito. In the decision, Alito wrote in dissent:

“The Court attempts to pass off its decision as the inevitable product of the textualist school of statutory interpreta­tion championed by our late colleague Justice Scalia, but no one should be fooled,” Alito wrote in a dissent.

“The Court’s opinion is like a pirate ship,” he continued. “It sails under a textualist flag, but what it actually represents is a theory of statutory interpretation that Jus­tice Scalia excoriated — the theory that courts should ‘update’ old statutes so that they better reflect the current val­ues of society.”

Law  professor Mary Anne Case, from the University of Chicago, saw it this way:

“Those with principled conservative approaches to law should be pleased, (but) those whose conservatism pertains principally to social policy and not law will be outraged,” said Mary Anne Case, a law professor at the University of Chicago. The latter, she said, “are merely results oriented, and will blithely abandon all their announced legal principles to achieve desired results.”

And while Gorsuch sided with LGBT advocates on Monday, he left the door open for employers to make faith-based challenges to the court’s ruling on Title VII protections.

“So while other employers in other cases may raise free exercise arguments that merit careful consideration, none of the employers before us today represent in this Court that compliance with Title VII will infringe their own religious liberties in any way,” he wrote.

Katharine Franke, law professor at Columbia University, told The Hill  that even with Monday’s landmark decision, the court will continue on its rightward course as it prepares to release a number of decisions in high-stakes cases by the end of the month.

“So, despite the huge victory today for LGBTQ rights, this remains a very conservative Court and I expect that the right will be consoled by other decisions issued before the end of the term on abortion rights, DACA, and other hot button issues,” Franke said.

Franke’s view was echoed by rightwing tweeters, as tracked also  by The Hill:

“All those evangelicals who sided with Trump in 2016 to protect them from the cultural currents, just found their excuse to stay home in 2020, thanks to Trump’s Supreme Court picks,” Erick Erickson, a conservative radio host and blogger, wrote on Twitter.

Carrie Severino, president of the right-wing Judicial Crisis Network, tweeted: “Justice Scalia would be disappointed that his successor has bungled textualism so badly today, for the sake of appealing to college campuses and editorial boards. This was not judging, this was legislating—a brute force attack on our constitutional system.”

This concludes our intelligence briefing for this afternoon (tho it could have been longer; much longer). I learned a few things.

Now will someone  please pass the hand sanitizer?

5 thoughts on “Gorsuch, LGBTQs, & the Rightwing Freakout”

  1. Thank you, Chuck, for surveilling the tiradosphere for us. I agree it is worthwhile, but so tedious.

  2. nice to see others have found The Bulwark. why I’ve even thrown them a few bucks.

    one correction to the article (not to Mr Fager’s commentary): being divorced is not a violation of catholic doctrine. being divorced and having remarried without an annulment of the first marriage bars one from the sacraments, but not from the church, even. source: myself, who was raised very catholic, is divorced and whose petition for annulment was granted. should i ever have the chance to remarry, i could do so in the RCC and I’d be in perfect standing.

  3. Thanks for the summary, Chuck. It is interesting to get the Bulwark’s take although sometimes all of the flamboyant verbiage makes me roll my eyes a bit.

    May I suggest another counter-intelligence source?

    TheRighting (https://www.therighting.com) monitors a whole bunch of different right wing media and has a daily newsletter with headlines and story summaries, without leaving any of your fingerprints behind so the trolls can’t follow you home. If you want to actually read something written by Rush or The Federalist or whatever, just copy the article URL and open a “private window” and paste it in. No fuss, no muss.

    I think it is important for at least some of us to pay attention to what is being said in the wing nut media because Herr Miller will be using their ideas for speeches or executive orders for Dear Leader to mindlessly spew.

    It isn’t very Quakerly to get so hot under the collar that I follow their lead of derogatory name calling, but it is an easy trap to fall into – at least for me.

    1. Ron, thanks very much for the tip about Righting; I’ve subscribed. Don’t yet know how much I can bear to read, but we’ll find out.

  4. I loved Alito’s comment, which was that Gorsuch relied on the words written down rather than what was meant by them at the time, and therefore was abandoning originalism. Alito, and indeed Scalia but his veneer on intellectualism protected him, has done Monty Python proud. That plus the unwritten rule at SCOTUS that one does not savage one’s peer. Scalia was so far beyond the pale that any criticism that laid bare the lie would have been savage.

    By the same Alito reasoning, the 2nd Amendment would only refer to muzzle-loading guns, breech-loaders having been invented 46 years after the 2nd Amendment was written.

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