The United States Supreme Court is supremely fucked. There are six ultra-conservative justices and only three judges with any sense. I knew that this round of decisions was going to be a doozy. This is the court that overturned Roe v. Wade, mind you, leaving people who need abortion care shit out of luck in states that have deemed abortion to be the same thing as sacrificing a baby during a Satanic ritual, which they no doubt believe also happens all the time.
One can’t be against abortion in 100 percent of the cases and be connected to reality in any way. Abortion care is health care. Anyone with a uterus should be allowed to access this care. But things are so messed up in some states that there are doctors who are all, “Gosh, I don’t want to get in trouble with whatever the law in my state is right now, so I’m going to have to tell this person who is carrying a dead or dying fetus that they’re just going to have to keep carrying it and hope they don’t die of sepsis.” That’s really happening. That’s not an exaggeration.
So I really wasn’t surprised when the Supreme Court issued a ruling that businesses can discriminate against LGBTQ+ people in order to not hurt their fragile religious beliefs.
In a 6-3 decision in the case 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, the majority decided that Colorado website designer Lorie Smith did not have to create wedding websites (a service she does not even offer) for same-sex couples because having to do so would violate her first amendment rights.
On Smith’s website she’s posted the following message: “To those who have filled my inbox with vile, hate-filled messages: If we disagree, we should be able to do so civilly. That is the mark of a healthy and free society. And while I think people should always strive to treat each other with politeness and consideration, and speak in ways reflecting that, I will always affirm one’s right to freely speak. All I am asking for is that same freedom.”
And, look, it doesn’t do anyone any good to hate spam her. But it’s pretty galling that Smith is equating my right to tell her to go fuck herself to her right to discriminate against me. Especially since that right has been affirmed by the most powerful court in the land and bankrolled by Alliance Defending Freedom, a right-wing extremist organization with very deep pockets. Smith is not simply asking “for that same freedom.” She is asking for special rights. Special rights, mind you, is what conservatives have argued LGBTQ+ people get when laws protect us from discrimination.
This court is represented by more justices appointed by Trump than any other president. Elections have consequences. And in this case, the consequences are dire. And will last for generations. There is no easy fix. These are lifetime appointments, which means these folks get to sit on the Supreme Court until they retire or die.
Currently, the longest serving Supreme Court Justice is Clarence Thomas, who has served since 1991. He was nominated by President George H. W. Bush to replace Thurgood Marshall, the Supreme Court’s first Black Supreme Court Justice. Marshall was a civil rights lawyer before his appointment. Thomas was a sexist scumbag who never should have been confirmed in the first place due to very credible sexual harassment allegations made by Anita Hill, a woman who came forward and was summarily scorched by the media and the public. And then after going through the hell that is a woman accusing a powerful man of anything, she had to watch Thomas get a lifelong term to make really important decisions for the whole country.
Another thing about Clarence Thomas: His wife, Ginny, is a right-wing extremist who believes that Donald Trump won the election in 2020 and really wishes that the whole Jan. 6 thing went the other way. Oh, and he has been accepting hefty gifts from really rich people and hiding that from the public (as has conservative asshat Justice Samuel Alito). This is not an honorable man.
Fun fact: The longest serving Supreme Court judge in history served for 36 years. That is over three decades. And Trump’s appointees are all pretty young. So, not great.
Look, life sucks without any hope. So I have to have some, but I am also very pessimistic. I am not a person who always tries to find a cloud’s silver lining. Because for all I know, the silver lining is an exposed wire that’s going to electrocute anyone who touches it as soon as it starts raining.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to grab an umbrella and go vote. Nothing is keeping me from my ballot. Don’t let anything keep you from yours.
D’Anne Witkowski is a writer living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBTQ+ politics for nearly two decades. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.