A day of reaction at the US Supreme Court
5 June 2018
The United States Supreme Court issued two reactionary decisions yesterday, dealing blows against abortion access, the rights of detained immigrants, and civil rights for lesbian and gay people.
In the first decision, Azar v. Garza, the court voted unanimously to invalidate a lower court ruling upholding the right of detained minor immigrant women to abortion. All four Democratic nominees supported the order, which allows Trump’s policy blocking young immigrants from abortion access to remain in effect.
Defending the policy, Office of Refugee Resettlement Director E. Scott Lloyd said in December that immigrant detention centers “cannot be a place of refuge while we are at the same time a place of violence” and that “we ought to choose to protect life rather than destroy it.” He was not referring to recent reports showing immigration officials systematically sexually and physically abusing immigrants, including children, at detention centers across the country.
In the second decision, Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the court ruled 7-2 that Colorado violated a baker’s “free speech” rights when it sanctioned him for refusing to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding. Five Republicans and two Democrats—Elena Kagan and Stephen G. Breyer—accepted the baker’s argument that he was the victim of discrimination at the hands of the state’s civil rights commission.
Although the decision does not specifically state that business owners can refuse to serve gay customers, it does establish the absurd rule that the “right” of the discriminator must be weighed against the rights of the people being discriminated against. The court berated the Colorado civil rights commission…