If you can’t win a case based on the merits of the law, then the next logical step is to publicly discredit those we trust to uphold it, right? That seems to be the Rovian strategy coming from Fox News – who preemptively published a bash piece by Gerard Bradley about U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker – alleging that his ruling was possibly biased because he is openly gay.
I’m sure that most people would question the merits of the accusation from the writer who can’t even proofread how to spell Vaughn (he repeatedly spells it Vaughan – even in his rebuttal of his critics). Judge Walker has taken an oath to uphold the law fairly – and has been bound by that oath since he assumed office in 1989. Gerard Bradley, however, makes no bones about his own bias. He’s widely known as a religious scholar, published widely in conservative publications for openly biased views on social policy.
This piece, published in the conservative National Review, contends that when the founding fathers wrote “liberty” into the Bill of Rights, they didn’t mean individual liberty, of course. They meant that we should have the liberty to self-govern, implying that we should just have the collective liberty to create whatever laws we see fit, regardless of effect on individual liberties. You can imagine the implications of this type of legal interpretation of the Bill of Rights.
Some quotes from this piece of his (emphasis mine):
In the 1992 decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey, they helped to form a majority that affirmed the abortion license of Roe v. Wade. And they did so (in part) by finding that license within what they called “the heart of liberty”: that is, “the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”
When America’s Founders thought of liberty, however, their minds did not gravitate to a bill of rights, much less to the Supreme Court as guardian of the lonely dissenter. One reason is that the Founders understood liberty to be mainly a community’s right to govern itself according to laws made by representatives caring for the public weal.
Individual lives go better when people affirm, for example, the moral truth about human dignity and basic norms of morality such as the Golden Rule.
In other words, the will of the majority can overtake the rights of the minority.
I’m sure that’s an easier position to take when you’re part of the majority. But I digress.
I don’t care if a judge is gay when ruling about marriage equality more than I care if the judge is married or a Christian. In fact, I’ll use Gerard Bradley’s own words to describe why I don’t care about the judges personal life:
All judges have beliefs and personal habits which intersect from time to time with the matters in dispute before them. We do not require judges to be blank slates without a personal life. Judges are not automatons.
All we ask and what we rightly expect is that judges put aside those things insofar as they might interfere with deciding a case fairly and in accord with the law.
In this case, the judge ruled that based on existing law (The Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause, if you want to get technical) that it was unconstitutional to ban gay marriage.
If you want to argue law and morality and hell and damnation for all homosexuals, I’m game. If you want to argue why it is constitutional to ban gay marriage, fine. But when you lose that argument based on the law, the dignified thing to do is to respect the constitution and Bill of Rights as our founding fathers wrote them, not as you wish they were written or could be interpreted.
It’s a despicable tactic being used by those who have no legal or logical basis to deny equal rights to their fellow Americans. All involved in this “strategy” and publication should be ashamed of themselves.
The judge being gay doesn’t change what the constitution says, Mr. Bradley.