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Posts in: July 2015

Reign Supreme

Last week, Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz penned an op-ed for The National Review regarding the Supreme Court. In it, he proposes two solutions to the “lawless” “judicial activism” of the Court: a constitutional amendment to “preserve the authority of elected state legislatures” to pass laws discriminating against gay couples who wish to marry, and a constitutional amendment that would require voters to determine, every eight years, whether or not a Justice should keep his or her position. Although calls the Court’s recent opinions “untethered to reason and logic,” his own reasoning demonstrates that he might be the worst lawyer who has ever lived, which might explain why he only has four years of private practice under his belt, having spent the rest of his career suckling at the teat of the Republican machine.

In one of the few correct statements in this op-ed, an article in which Cruz proves an alarming amount of stupidity by conflating the U.S. Constitution with state constitutions, the distinguished Senator points out that the Constitution gives Congress the authority to impeach Supreme Court Justices, which has only happened once. Of course, Cruz also suggests Anthony Kennedy is the one who needs to be impeached, not Antonin “I even believe in the Devil… Yeah, he’s a real person” Scalia.

Ironically, Cruz suggests that “[l]iberty hangs in the balance” while ignoring that Justice Kennedy’s “swing votes” give him the only thing on the Court resembling a libertarian record. Cruz also rails against the King v. Burwell decision upholding the “Affordable Care” and “Patient Protection” Act without acknowledging that the usually far-right Justice Roberts sided with the majority, just as he did in 2012 in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, a case on which Kennedy dissented. Doesn’t this, just on a surface skim, demonstrate a teensy bit more complexity to Court decisions than Cruz sees?

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Idiot: The Life and Times of Reza Aslan — Part V: The Open Letter

I know I promised I’d stop blogging about Reza Aslan, but his latest effort is simply beyond the pale. With Daily Show correspondent Hasan Minhaj, he penned “An Open Letter to American Muslims on Same-Sex Marriage,” which seeks to enlighten American Muslims who have come out against the Obergefell v. Hodges decision. It offends me on two fronts: first, by attempting (in the most condescending ways imaginable) to regulate the behavior of fellow Muslims; and secondly, but much more importantly, by resting their reasoning on Muslims’ minority status rather than principles.

The letter begins with an inauspicious but still hilarious paragraph:

To Our Fellow American Muslims,

Hey there. It’s two of your brothers. We’re writing to you about the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage in all fifty states. The good news is that a whopping 42% of you support marriage equality, as do both of our Muslim elected officials in the United States Congress. One even serves as vice chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus! There are many faithful gay and lesbian Muslims in the US and we love and support all of them.

Wow! A “whopping” 42%! That is, indeed, “good news.” Because, you see, contrary to the far-left assumption that the majority of Muslims who oppose gay marriage will be castigated by the white, Christian ruling class, this majority opposition puts American Muslims in agreement with the single largest religious group in this country: evangelical Christians. According to the same poll Aslan and Minhaj cite, a narrow majority of 54% of all Americans favor same-sex marriage, and those numbers are brought down dramatically by the large number of white evangelicals (28%), non-white Protestants (black Protestants at 38%, Hispanic Protestants at 35%, and “other” Protestants at 41%), and notoriously conservative fringe Christians (27% for Mormons, 12% for Jehovah’s Witnesses). With depressing numbers like these, it’s clear that conservative American Muslims are largely in step with (if not slightly more progressive than) their Christian counterparts.

Why, then, do Aslan and Minhaj think they need to tell their “brothers” (and “sisters”?) what to think and how to behave? Is it a genuine belief that all Americans, including conservative Christians in full agreement, will turn against Muslims who don’t support gay marriage—or is it that these conservative Muslims make it more difficult for Aslan (and, I suppose, Minhaj, though I know very little about him beyond his great hair) to present all Muslims as good-humored, westernized, Sufi-fied progressives? Let’s continue reading to find out!

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