After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the Affordable Care Act and same-sex marriage last week, many conservatives are now putting in their two cents.
The court ruled in King v. Burwell that those receiving health insurance in a state without an exchange can use those set in place by the federal government, a ruling some Republicans have deemed “tyrannical.” Just a day later, the court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that the Constitution guarantees same-sex couples a right to marry. To put it simply, it wasn’t a good week for the right wing.
While both cases have spurred conservative backlash, the ruling permitting same-sex marriage nationwide received tremendous complaints about the end of religious freedom as we know it under a too-powerful court, leading some to want to change the way the court works.
Though the reaction was completely expected, many of the responses seem more like temper tantrums than constructive concerns. More important, such extreme dissent all because the right didn’t get its way — which went as far as Republican presidential candidate and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to call the ruling the “darkest 24 hours in our nation’s history” — undermines the necessity of the court during a time when the country needed to be more progressive in terms of marriage equality.
Take, for instance, GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who, as reported in the Washington Times, said the ruling “redefined how the U.S. government works” and that “unelected lawyers” ignored the will of citizens.
Or, as mentioned in Rolling Stone, David French of the National Review claimed the ruling is proof there really isn’t a true right to free speech or religious freedom, arguing what is now law invalidates individuals’ Christian convictions.
Overly dramatic worries aside, the ruling had to happen. The right to marry in the U.S. was making slow progress because of the narrow, conservative ideologies holding the basic right behind. Those ideologies were favored for too long.
Because the Supreme Court didn’t swing his way, Sen. Ted Cruz made a plan to introduce a constitutional amendment that would require the Supreme Court justices to face re-election, as reported in Vice.
At the end of the day, conservatives’ disappointment isn’t just about the rulings. If the court doesn’t rule in their favor, the court then needs to be reformed. Yet, it’s not as though the court never made conservative rulings.
Under the conservative Chief Justice Roberts, the Supreme Court struck down a section of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby Counter v. Holder that required states and localities with a past of racial discrimination to run election law changes past the Justice Department.
In two separate cases, the court made it harder for employees to file suit based on claims of discrimination. The Constitutional Accountability Center also found in a study that business interests have been defended more so in Roberts’ court than in previous eras, as reported by MSNBC.
While these instances may not be in our national memory the way last week’s rulings are, it’s unjust for Republicans to claim they’ve been singled out when they don’t get what they want. Instead of being in complete denial — as the conservative Frontpage Mag mentioned the comforting fact that rulings can be overturned — it’s time to realize that social change is not a personal attack, but simply progress.
Isabelle Cavazos is a senior majoring in English and Spanish.