Republicans are losing in their fight against marriage equality, and they know it. Same sex marriage is now legal in 37 states, and it may soon be legal everywhere, pending the outcome of a case currently before the Supreme Court.
Now, you might expect that they would give up their fight and move on to another battle. But there are some Republicans who seem hell bent to do everything they can to try and deny gay Americans their right to marry. Those Republicans have devised a new strategy: take the courts out of the equation.
Representative Steve King (R-IA), who usually spends most of his energy trying to deport immigrants, has introduced a bill called the “Restrain the Judges on Marriage Act of 2015.” In a press release, King explains that the purpose of the bill is to strip federal courts of their jurisdiction in marriage cases. King already has several occupants of the GOP loony bin lined up as co-sponsors, Louie Gohmert and Ted Yoho being chief among them.
King is following in the footsteps of fellow Republican nutjob, Ted Cruz. Cruz recently told an audience in Iowa that if the Supreme Court ok’s marriage equality, he would encourage congress to strip courts of their right to rule on the issue, according to the “Dallas Morning News.”
Steve Benin points out, at “Maddow Blog,” that court stripping, or jurisdiction stripping, is so radical, most in congress wouldn’t even consider it. He calls it the congressional version of “legislating from the bench.” Instead of letting judges hear and rule on cases, King and Cruz want to adjudicate from congress.
As Benin observes, under King’s proposal, a couple living in a state that has a state ban on same sex marriage would be unable to go to court to claim that they were being discriminated against. The judge would not even be allowed to hear the case. This flies in the face of the American tradition of average citizens using the courts as a means of obtaining justice.
Cruz and King have not come up with a clever new angle here. Court stripping has been tried before, by other Republicans. Senator Jesse Helms tried something similar, involving school prayer, in the 1980’s. More recently, Sam “I’m killing Kansas” Brownback, and Todd “legitimate rape” Akin tried to take jurisdiction away from courts on cases involving the Pledge of Allegiance. Whenever their point of view is losing, Republicans always try to change the rules.
Once again, the party that claims it loves the Constitution above all else (except the Bible, of course), wants to do something that alters the spirit of that document. Separation of powers is one of the main philosophies of governing that the United States is based upon. Under King’s proposal, that separation would be weakened, as congress would be telling courts which cases they could and could not hear.
Of course, with the filibuster in the Senate, and President Obama in the White House, King’s proposal is going nowhere. But since when did that sort of knowledge stop a Republican from wasting time and money in order to pander to their base?
Featured image via Fibonacci Blue/Flickr