On Monday, the Supreme Court issued a surprise ruling on a case relating to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In a 6-3 ruling, the court found that the 1964 bill protected gay and trans workers from being fired just for their sexual orientation or gender. Some members of the GOP seethed over the majority opinion, which was written by Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Gorsuch, a Trump appointee, was likely the last person some pundits expected to head the majority opinion on the case. Gorsuch was joined by conservative-appointed Chief Justice John Roberts and the “left wing” of the court, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer. Some members of the GOP are perplexed over Gorsuch’s move, while others are pleased that he applied a “textualist” approach to the case.
An Unlikely LGBT Ally?
The Republican Party hasn’t been known for being socially progressive in the past few decades. However, some members of the party seemed pleased that Neil Gorsuch was an independent juror in the case, not a proxy for President Donald Trump. “It’s important that we recognize that all Americans have equal rights under our Constitution,” said Senator Deb Fisher.
Noting that it was expedient for the court to handle the issue instead of handing it off to Congress, Senator Chuck Grassley seemed pleased with the outcome. “It’s the law of the land. And it probably makes uniform what a lot of states have already done. And probably negates Congress’s necessity for acting,” said Grassley.
Some Republican lawmakers are likely pleased to not have to legislate on the issue. LGBT rights are popular with Americans on the whole, but can become divisive among registered Republican voters. Senators and Representatives running in swing districts are likely glad to not have to cast votes on LGBT rights, and instead can simply support the Supreme Court’s call on the matter.
Some Republican pundits were far from pleased with Gorsuch, however. Sean Davis, who writes for the Federalist, noted bluntly that Republicans need to appoint justices who “will vote correctly”. His sentiment was echoed by Carrie Severino, of the Judicial Crisis Network.
“Justice Scalia would be disappointed that his successor has bungled textualism so badly today for the sake of appealing to college campuses and editorial boards,” Severino wrote. Notably, the Judicial Crisis Network spent millions of dollars blocking Obama’s appointee for Scalia’s former seat, Merrick Garland. The Network then spent even more getting Gorsuch confirmed to the Supreme Court.