As I approach the end of some weeks, I often marvel at what has occurred during just that short passage of time. This week was one of those weeks. From the four major opinions issued by the U.S. Supreme Court, to Obama’s arrogant and sweeping plan to control the climate by fiat, to the late-hour filibuster in the Texas Senate and call for a second Special Session, and finally to the local announcements that will make political life in Senate District 7 very interesting over the next year, this week had a little something for every conservative to cheer and jeer.
I am not going to devote any time in this post to the state and local political developments; I’ll leave it to others to dissect what happened in Austin this week, and there will be plenty of time over the next few months to comment and chuckle about the upcoming campaigns of Senator Fosdick and his Barney-Fife-like sidekick. Instead, I want to briefly discuss what happened on the federal level.
I know that some of my fellow conservatives feel betrayed over the decision in U.S. v. Windsor, just as we felt betrayed by last year’s decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius. But the silver lining to the “Obamacare” opinion that I tried to explain in my post last summer applies to the Windsor opinion when read together with the opinions in the other three major opinions of this past week:
- · Fisher v. The University of Texas at Austin
- · Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder; and
- · Hollingsworth v. Perry.
Just as Justice Roberts’ and Kennedy’s opinions in the “Obamacare” case attempted to corral the commerce power of the federal government back within its proper limitations, and protected State governments from further destruction of the federal structure of our government by allowing states to opt-out of the Medicaid expansion, Shelby County, Windsor, and Hollingsworth, preserve and strengthen federalism and the residual power of the States in a way that has not been articulated in many decades. Moreover, Fisher continues to move us closer to the ideal of a classless, color-blind society that our ancestors fought so bravely to establish and secure. Conservatives should cheer these developments.
In fact the real winners of this past week are the first Justice Harlan and James Madison. In Plessy v. Ferguson, Justice Harlan described the American ideal that had survived the Civil War in his lone dissent:
…[I]n view of the constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful. The law regards man as man, and takes no account of his surroundings or of his color when his civil rights as guaranteed by the supreme law of the land are involved.
And earlier, James Madison had described the division of power at the heart of the concept of federalism in Federalist No. 45:
The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State government are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.
Both men are being vindicated, however slowly, by the efforts of the Roberts Court.
Am I somewhat disappointed by all of the outcomes of these cases? Of course. Frankly, my views are more closely aligned with those expressed in Justice Thomas’ dissent in Fisher and Justice Alito’s dissent in Windsor. As for the outcome of Windsor and Hollingsworth, the grounding of both Windsor’s federalism and equal protection analyses in a respect for the policy decisions of state governments has given conservatives a great analytical tool in future debates to limit federal authority, as well as additional time to continue to discuss the changes that are happening in our society and how we conservatives should guide them in a way that preserves the best of the unique character of our society for future generations.
And the analytical tools that the Supreme Court applied in these cases will surely be tested by the great Obama machine over the next few years, as the Benevolent One tries to save the climate and Mother Earth from mankind. After his speech on Tuesday, here is what he told his supporters through his tax-exempt, “social welfare” platform, Organizing for Action”:
From: Barack Obama [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 3:43 PM
Subject: XXXXXXX: What I need from you
|XXXXXXX –I told Congress in February that if they didn’t take action to fight climate change, then I would.
Today, I announced a plan of action to make good on that promise.
My administration is taking steps to cut carbon pollution, prepare our nation for the unavoidable impact of climate change, and put America’s best and brightest to work to solve this issue on a global scale.
One thing we know is we’ll face a well-organized and well-financed opposition by the special interests that profit from keeping things the way they are — and there are members of Congress who fundamentally deny the science on this issue.
But we cannot stand by any longer.
I need to know you’ll fight alongside me. Say you will.
Over the next few months and years, I’m going to need the millions of OFA supporters who understand that we have a responsibility to future generations to fight climate change to join me, and be a force of change in your communities.
We owe it to our children and grandchildren to take action — and now is the time.
Today, I’m here to tell you I am committed to doing my part.
Say you’ll do yours:
This email was sent to: XXXXXXXXXXXXXX
So … the battle continues.