Over the past week or so, it’s been reported that Vaughn Walker, the judge in the Prop 8 trial, is gay. This shouldn’t matter, because those of us who understand how the judicial system works know that judges are charged with interpreting the law in light of the Constitution, and nothing more. Cries of “judishul activizms” from the Religious Right in gay rights cases are ringing more and more hollow, as straight white Republican-appointed judges around the nation are ruling in favor of our equality in increasing numbers. So, if Vaughn Walker rules in the plaintiffs’ favor in the Prop 8 trial, he’s simply joining a growing group of Republican appointees who agree that equal protection means equal protection for ALL American citizens. But of course, the Religious Right doesn’t see it this way.
So let’s tack off the Religious Right reactions to this revelation:
1. Matt Barber issued a hysterical press release, suggesting that Walker’s behavior during the trial has been “bizarre,” and that his (overturned) decision to allow cameras in the courtroom contributed to a “circus” atmosphere, which hurt the anti-gay side, because, like the cowards they are, they imagine themselves “victims” in the wake of the Prop 8 vote. Barber calls the judge’s sexuality a “conflict of interest,” because Matt Barber stubbornly and childishly clings to definitions of sexuality that have been disproven for decades. If I were being charitable, I would suggest that maybe all those years he spent groping and being groped by men in tight shorts resulted in some sort of long lasting head injury.
2. Brian Brown attempted to take a gentler approach, saying that regardless of whether Walker is gay or not, he’s still an “activist” judge, and that the deck has been stacked against the anti-gay side from the beginning. Apparently it hasn’t crossed his mind that the deck might have been stacked against bigotry and discrimination because reality is stacked against bigotry and discrimination.
3. Rick “Frothy Mix” Santorum farted out some sort of jumbled words where he claimed that Prop 8 voters had been harassed and blacklisted over their votes. The hysteria surrounding the aftermath of the Prop 8 vote would lead an uninformed observer to think there was some sort of bodycount among the Religious Right after that vote, but reality, of course, knows otherwise. Santorum also accused the judge of “rigging the trial.” Uh huh. TS at Instaputz replies, “It’s not every day that a former Senator accuses a Reagan and Bush-nominated federal judge of ‘rigging’ a trial.”
4. Peter LaBarbera, predictably, soiled his everloving panties over the revelation:
One need not rely on this disturbing item from NRO to conclude that American jurisprudence is in big trouble given the expanding number of judges who are, to use modern parlance, “openly gay” (which is to say: proudly practicing or inclined to practice perversion). If they regard their homosexuality as (part of) “who they are” and, by extension, view foes of homosexuality as akin to racists, it is difficult to imagine them being truly impartial on “gay”-related cases.
Having said that, given the ferocity with which many straight liberals promote homosexualist ideology today, there surely is plenty of left-wing judicial bias to go around without laying all or even most of the blame at the feet of America’ homosexual judges. A straight liberal who regards homosexuality as a pure “civil rights” issue is just as capable of being a reactionary, anti-religious bigot in his approach toward moral opponents of homosexuality as an openly homosexual judge.
Waaaah. Peter’s comment does start to expose the obvious problems with the Religious Right’s logic on this (he’s good for that, because he’s just not put together correctly). The NRO piece Peter links to is from Ed Whelan, and if you know NRO, you know it’s a fairly hysterical analysis, itself. These are the people, after all, who pay Kathryn Jean Lopez to fawn over 15 year old boys at anti-choice rallies and to mangle the English language on a daily basis, while Jonah Goldberg continues to suck at the teat of wingnut welfare, riding his mother Lucianne’s coattails all the way to the bank, writing columns about how global warming isn’t real because hey look, meteors! (For instance.)
Anyway, et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseam. I’m sure there are many more Religious Right luminaries going through the roof over this, and if you really want to know, may I suggest Google, but I personally can take only so much of their garbage before my brain cells start feeling threatened.
If you have a working brain, you already know the obvious flaw in the Religious Right’s logic. If being part of a minority group disqualifies a judge from presiding over any cases involving that minority group, then judges would have to recuse themselves from so many cases that our system would fall apart. For instance, Scalia would have to shut it, forever, about anything involving the Catholic Church. And again, this betrays a willful refusal to understand what the judicial system IS. I have no idea whether or not these Religious Right figures actually do understand what judges do — I mean, come on, we’re dealing with people who think Liberty is a real law school, for god’s sake — but their public stance is obviously to misinform an already civics-stupid culture about the role of judges in our society, because Religious Right figures don’t value the American system of governance like the rest of us do.
I could go on, but John Aravosis already smacked them all down quite thoroughly, so I’ll just excerpt what he said, and then you should click the clicky to read the rest:
If a gay judge is unfit to rule on a case involving gay people or the religious right, then using the far right’s logic, a straight judge would be just as biased towards straight people in any anti-gay discrimination case. But it’s worse than that. African-American judges would never be able to rule on civil rights cases – well, no one would really, since every human being is a member of at least one race, thus, under the religious right’s logic, we’d all either be a minority or the majority, making us a party to any civil rights suit. (Or perhaps Latino judges would be able to rule on discrimination cases involving African-Americans, it’s not entirely clear.) And Republican judges clearly couldn’t rule on political cases, nor could Democratic judges. Which means the entire Supreme Court, the entire federal judiciary, and really any judge who ever voted or who has any political views whatsoever, is ineligible from any case that involves politics. And female judges couldn’t preside over cases involving women, or men I guess, and so on.
And in fact, the religious right’s logic, to its illogical conclusion, means that conservative Christian judges also would not be permitted to preside over any case involving gays, non-Christians, Christians who aren’t members of some religious right sect, cases involving politics (since the religious right became a de facto subsidiary of the Republican party decades ago), cases involving discrimination (since the lead religious right groups routinely promote bigotry – in fact, their raison d’etre is to promote bigotry), any case in which a black person is involved (the religious right used to use the Bible to justify slavery (and still think slavery was a good thing for blacks), and the Mormons excluded blacks from the upper levels of their church up until the 1970s), and lots of other issues. And let’s not forget that the Southern Baptists were formed because they split with the north over slavery – the SB’s were for it. But hey, they apologized…. in 2009.
But see, they don’t actually believe that. The Religious Right, incorrectly, thinks that they should have an elevated place in society. They have done nothing to deserve that place, and in fact, have been a solid stain on American history, but they’ve convinced themselves otherwise. There is no “logic” to speak of in their statements. No, they believe, in general, that they should be the final arbiters of all law in this country, in direct contravention of the actual American system, which guarantees us freedom from the tyrannical notions of bigoted, white male supremacist fundamentalist religion. And as their numbers continue to decrease with each passing year, pronouncements of this sort will become more and more extremist. The good news is that the American public is greeting these statements more and more with a collective yawn of boredom.