Voices of Dissent: Justice Alito

SCOTUSI taught a priesthood lesson on Sunday on the talk of Elder Robert D. Hales  which was entitled Preserving Agency, and Protecting Religious Freedom. It was inspired. One more example of how blessed I feel to have ongoing revelation in the leadership of the church that can address contemporary challenges  we face.

In preparing for this less I pulled out the opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States and actually read the opinion (there’s a first for everything). Having read the dissent, I find the things most objectionable about the decision have changed for me. I thought I’d quote some of the most problematic elements of the majority decision using the words of their dissenting peers from the court. You’ll get a much better vision of the dissent by reading it in full in the link below.

No matter how you feel about same-sex marriage, both sides of the argument have lost big when you consider the damage the decision has done to the Constitution.


Excerpts from the dissent of Justice Samuel Alito in OBERGEFELL v. HODGES – June 26, 2015:

“Today’s decision usurps the constitutional right of the people to decide whether to keep or alter the traditional understanding of marriage. The decision will also have other important consequences. It will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy. In the course of its opinion, the majority compares traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment for African-Americans and women. E.g., ante, at 11–13. The implications of this analogy will be exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent.

Perhaps recognizing how its reasoning may be used, the majority attempts, toward the end of its opinion, to reassure those who oppose same-sex marriage that their rights of conscience will be protected. Ante, at 26–27. We will soon see whether this proves to be true. I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools.”

. . .

“Today’s decision shows that decades of attempts to restrain this Court’s abuse of its authority have failed. A lesson that some will take from today’s decision is that dissenting preaching about the proper method of interpreting the Constitution or the virtues of judicial self-restraint and humility cannot compete with the temptation to achieve what is viewed as a noble end by any practicable means. I do not doubt that my colleagues in the majority sincerely see in the Constitution a vision of liberty that happens to coincide with their own. But this sincerity is cause for concern, not comfort. What it evidences is the deep and perhaps irremediable corruption of our legal culture’s conception of constitutional interpretation.

Most Americans—understandably—will cheer or lament today’s decision because of their views on the issue of same-sex marriage. But all Americans, whatever their thinking on that issue, should worry about what the majority’s claim of power portends.”

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