Neil Gorsuch Agrees Supreme Court’s 2015 Ruling That Legalized Same-Sex Marriage Is “Absolutely Settled Law” – Should Conservatives Be Concerned?

(PHOTO: REUTERS/JOSHUA ROBERTS)
U.S. Supreme Court nominee judge Neil Gorsuch testifies during the second day of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on March 21, 2017.

President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch agreed Tuesday during his Senate confirmation hearing that the court’s ruling in 2015 that legalized same-sex marriage is “absolutely settled law.”

Gorsuch, a Tenth Circuit Court Judge, was pressed by Democrat Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota during his hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee to explain how his views on same-sex marriage have changed since the 2004 election.

Gorsuch vaguely said that his personal views on marriage would “send a misleading signal to the American people.” Franken, not too pleased that Gorsuch had dodged the question, then asked if the legalization of same-sex marriage was settled law.

“It is absolutely settled law,” the 49-year-old nominee responded. “There is ongoing litigation about its impact and its application right now.”

Franken, still displeased, responded, “you have given a version of this answer before” and changed the subject.

Some social conservatives and traditional marriage advocates might cringe when hearing Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, who’s been praised by dozens of prominent conservatives, say he’s in agreement that same-sex marriage is “settled law.”

But, should conservatives be concerned by Gorsuch’s exchange with Franken?

Ed Whelan, a former law clerk for the late Justice Antonin Scalia and the president of the conservative Washington, D.C.-based think tank Ethics & Public Policy Center, told The Christian Post in an email Wednesday that Gorsuch’s remarks aren’t alarming.

Whelan noted that Gorsuch later said in response to Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii that “it is a precedent of the United States Supreme Court entitled to all the deference due a precedent of the United States Supreme Court.”

“It’s clear, in the broader context, that Judge Gorsuch was saying of Obergefell the same thing he said of lots of other Supreme Court precedents: A justice starts off by presuming that a precedent is entitled to respect and then applies all the considerations that bear on whether that precedent should be overturned,” Whelan said. “On this case as on others, Judge Gorsuch’s response says nothing about those considerations.”

Liberals also don’t seem to be giving Gorsuch’s “settled law” answer too much weight.

Michelangelo Signorile, the queer voices editor-at-large at The Huffington Post, argued that the most “telling” portion of Gorsuch’s answer to Franken was the last part when he said that there is “ongoing litigation about the impact and application.”

“The litigation to which he refers has to do with the ‘religious liberty’ issue I discussed regarding Gorsuch earlier in the week. Anti-LGBT conservatives, realizing how difficult it may be to overturn Obergefell, have moved to a strategy of making same-sex marriage a kind of second-class marriage ― allowing for religious exemptions for businesses, government employees, state-funded adoption agencies and others who don’t support marriage for gays and lesbians. Some are pushing ahead in the courts, in state legislatures, in Congress and via Trump, awaiting a promised religious liberty executive order.

“And, as I described in that piece on Monday, Gorsuch, as reflected in his decision in Hobby Lobby, seems primed to allow for those religious exemptions. Thus, don’t be fooled by Gorsuch’s claim that Obergefell is ‘settled law.'”

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SOURCE: The Christian Post
Samuel Smith