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Hullabaloo


Sunday, December 13, 2015

 
The new litmus test

by digby

For decades all Supreme Court justices appointed by Republicans had to be committed to reversing Roe vs Wade. Now, they often say they're just "calling balls and strikes" but everyone knows that this is a bottom line requirement. Indeed, it's very hard to get a more liberal justice confirmed if he or she has a record of supporting abortion rights although it's possible as long as some Senate Old Bulls are still around who stand up for the idea that a president has a right to nominate someone of their own philosophy. I'm going to take a wild guess that this is yet another of those old "traditions" we have probably seen the last of at least as it applied to a Democrat. If the Democratic president doesn't have a Senate majority I think it's going to be very hard for him or her to get anyone confirmed.

But now there are going to be some new litmus tests I'm sure. One will be the reversal of Obamacare, at least for a while. They just have to say it even if it makes no sense. But this one could be more lasting:

CHUCK TODD: Are you going to work to overturn the same sex marriage?

MARCO RUBIO: I disagree with it on constitutional grounds. As I have said–

CHUCK TODD: But are you going to work to overturn this?

MARCO RUBIO: I think it’s bad law. And for the following reason. If you want to change the definition of marriage, then you need to go to state legislatures and get them to change it. Because states have always defined marriage. And that’s why some people get married in Las Vegas by an Elvis impersonator. And in Florida, you have to wait a couple days when you get your permit. Every state has different marriage laws. But I do not believe that the court system was the right way to do it because I don’t believe–

CHUCK TODD: But it’s done now. Are you going to work to overturn it?

MARCO RUBIO: You can’t work to overturn it. What you–

CHUCK TODD: Sure. You can do a constitutional amendment.

MARCO RUBIO: As I’ve said, that would be conceding that the current Constitution is somehow wrong and needs to be fixed. I don’t think the current Constitution gives the federal government the power to regulate marriage. That belongs at the state and local level. And that’s why if you want to change the definition of marriage, which is what this argument is about.

It’s not about discrimination. It is about the definition of a very specific, traditional, and age-old institution. If you want to change it, you have a right to petition your state legislature and your elected representatives to do it. What is wrong is that the Supreme Court has found this hidden constitutional right that 200 years of jurisprudence had not discovered and basically overturn the will of voters in Florida where over 60% passed a constitutional amendment that defined marriage in the state constitution as the union of one man and one woman.

CHUCK TODD: So are you accepting the idea of same sex marriage in perpetuity?

MARCO RUBIO: It is the current law. I don’t believe any case law is settled law. Any future Supreme Court can change it.

And ultimately, I will appoint Supreme Court justices that will interpret the Constitution as originally constructed.

Now it's true that support for marriage equality continues to grow in popularity and it's always possible that a large majority of Republicans will come around and this will cease to be an applause line. I certainly hope so. But the history of Roe suggests that the religious right can keep the fires burning on culture war issues for a very long time if they choose. I certainly don't think those of us who care about equality under the law should let down out guard.

Also, Marco Rubio is a smarmy little creep.

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