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Never mind the conservatives: here’s Justice Johnny Rotten

By | 2018-01-15T23:11:41-05:00 August 18th, 2005|Opinions|

by R.J. Beaumia

Antichrist, anarchist, immigrant; Supreme Court Justice John Lydon has renewed the American people’s respect for the judicial system since his appointment to the bench last fall.
Feeling nostalgic for my youth and for democracy, I wrote that as a lead sentence for a fantasy article I’d like to be working on a year from now.
Lydon, better known as Johnny Rotten, was the lead singer for the 70s rock band The Sex Pistols and was a major influence on me politically – thus explaining my hope of placing an erstwhile nihilist in America’s top court. Yes, I know that’s a paradox, but it’s better than what we’ve got and is, furthermore, not really the point here.
I conjured up that scenario when I was reminded of one of Rotten’s famous quotes, “Ever get the feeling youÕve been cheated?” while reading a recent New Yorker piece on Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.
It’s an excellent article, a profile of a man with a number of very admirable traits who’s had the guts to publicly use the words “liar” and “loser” to describe George W. Bush and has called Clarence Thomas an “embarrassment.” The piece details the Nevada senator’s surmounting incredible hardships in his quest for prominence in public service.
However, as the face of the Democratic party in the Senate, Reid’s leadership is bad for the LGBT community. While a majority of our resources and votes went to the Democrats in the last election, the party has sold us out by choosing someone who’s been an outspoken opponent of marriage equality and has displayed total cowardice in regard to the Bush government’s choices for the judiciary.
Democrats picked Reid, a practicing Mormon, to replace Tom Daschle who was a casualty of last November’s hysteria over social liberals.
According to the New Yorker, Reid indicated that he’s not going to put up too much resistance to the appointment of John Roberts as a replacement for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Writer Elsa Walsh quoted Reid as saying that “Roberts is not a slam dunk,” but she wrote that Reid “couldn’t quite conceal his pleasure” over Bush’s nominee.
After meeting with Roberts, Reid was impressed with his answers to questions the senator posed about reversing Court decisions.
“Roberts, in Reid’s view, left no doubt that he would be very reluctant to overturn precedents. To do so, Roberts had said, the Court would first have to consider a series of objective criteria, two of which stood out: whether a precedent fostered stability in the nation [emphasis mine]; and the extent to which society had come to rely on an earlier ruling, even a dubious one,” Walsh wrote.
Roberts, a neo-con whelp of the Reagan administration, was hailed by every prominent right-wing think tank in the nation from the moment his nomination was announced. If chosen, he might not have the opportunity to overturn Lawrence vs. Texas, but it’s not inconceivable that a far-right jurist, deciding the relevance of laws based on their potential to “foster stability in the nation,” would have no problem upholding state anti-marriage amendments coming up for review. After all, isn’t the right’s core objection to marriage equality based on the contention that it destabilizes the foundation of civilization, the family?
But if you’re worried about Reid’s approval of John Roberts, you’ll be in a panic over his plans for replacing Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
It’s no secret that it won’t be long before the very ill, 80 year-old Rehnquist begins spending eternity with his old pal Richard Nixon. Although lingering like a fart in a phone booth, Rehnquist will soon vacate his post intentionally or not. When that happens, according to the New Yorker article, Senator Reid “announced that he would probably support [Antonin] Scalia as Chief Justice if William Rehnquist retired and Bush wanted him.”
Scalia, duck hunting partner and dinner companion of Dick Cheney, is to constitutional law what petrified wood is to botany. He wrote the ferociously angry dissent in Lawrence vs. Texas, stating consensual sex between same-sex partners is not a fundamental right because it isn’t based in the deeply rooted history and tradition of our nation, and also that since so many governing bodies have passed laws predicated on the premise that same-sex behavior is immoral and unacceptable, that’s reason enough to regulate it.
My favorite, though, is where Scalia scolds the Court majority for partially basing their decision on the precedents of contemporary European laws granting rights to same-sex couples. Even though the judiciary has been citing European law for two centuries, Scalia wrote, “The court’s discussion of these foreign views É is meaningless dicta. Dangerous dicta, however, since this court should not impose foreign moods, fads, or fashions on Americans.”
Moods, fads, and fashions? I love having my basic human rights equated with leg warmers and the Macarena.
The LGBT community needs to re-examine its political alliances, flex its muscle, and make the necessary adjustments so the Democrats understand we will not tolerate the feeling that we’ve been cheated.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.