United States Supreme Court Uncertainty Could Weaken LGBTQ+ Rights

The retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on June 27th made dramatic waves on both sides of the political spectrum. Appointed by former President Ronald Reagan, Kennedy had become the court’s regular “swing vote,” agitating Christian conservatives when he wrote the landmark same-sex marriage ruling in 2015.

Since then, however, Kennedy’s rulings were far from liberal. His vote to uphold Trump’s travel ban followed his vote a day earlier to approve racial gerrymandering in Texas, while another vote three weeks prior allowed a business to discriminate against LGBTQ+ customers. Now with the nomination of conservative United States Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Kennedy, conservatives are anticipating an opportunity to reshape the court and pave new conservative ground where Kennedy had previously blocked their path.

With a solidly conservative majority, the Supreme Court could affirm state laws that allow taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to reject applicants, including gay couples. In addition, Kavanaugh is not an LGBTQ+ ally, having been endorsed and celebrated by ultra-conservative and anti-LGBTQ+ advocacy groups like the Family Research Council. One thing is certain, however, Trump’s nominee is likely to give the conservatives a solid majority, meaning marginalized communities, especially the QTPoC community, will again be trapped in a game of constitutional hardball and uncertainty.

Further reading:

Brett Kavanaugh Has GOP Bona Fides, But a Surprising Record (Atlantic)

Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court (Washington Blade)

Trump's 'extreme' Supreme Court shortlist alarms LGBTQ advocates (NBC News)

 

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