ROBERTS AND THE SUPREMES PASS ON HEARING A CONSTITUTIONAL CASE

ROBERTS AND THE SUPREMES PASS ON HEARING A CONSTITUTIONAL CASE

July 31, 2020 By Joseph P. Farrell

V.T. shared this article, and I include it in this week's blogs, because after reading it I cannot help but think that the USSA has finally, irrevocably, crossed a Rubicon, and that the blowback from it may or may not be a long time coming, but it will come, nevertheless. Here's the story:

US Supreme Court won’t intervene as Nevada limits church services but casinos can host thousands

On Friday, the United States Supreme Court declined to intervene on behalf of a Nevada church challenging the state’s ban on religious gatherings of more than 50 people while casinos are allowed to fill with thousands as long as they are at 50 percent capacity.

In the case of Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley vs. Sisolak, legal representatives for Calvary Chapel, an evangelical church, argued that the state of Nevada is unlawfully discriminating against houses of worship by allowing a number of public facilities to fill with crowds to 50 percent capacity while restricting religious gatherings to 50 people, no matter how large the building. Calvary Chapel wishes to offer services to gatherings of up to 90 people, representing 50 percent capacity.

The state of Nevada argued, however, that it could lawfully discriminate against places of worship for public health and economic reasons. 

The majority of the Supreme Court judges, 5 against 4, rejected Calvary Chapel’s application. Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Clarence Thomas dissented, saying the high court should have heard the case.  

In his dissent, Justice Alito contrasted Nevada’s treatment of churches with its preference for the state’s casinos, noting that even at 50 percent capacity some Las Vegas casinos are hosting thousands of patrons.

The judge also pointed out that the American Constitution guarantees “free exercise of religion,” not gambling. (Emphasis added)

I don't even know where to begin on this one. Supposedly, the US Supreme Court was supposed to exist as a check on unconstitutional actions, no matter by whom or what jurisdiction. And as the article points out, the State of Nevada has asserted a new power: the power to regulate or "lawfully discriminate against places of worship for public health and economic reasons." I have to wonder, in a time when the big cities in the country are melting down under a barrage of rioting and looting and "doxxing", if indeed the most essential services might just include those spiritual disciplines that churches (used to) provide. But no, according to Nevada and other states, the ideals of repentance, charity, love of neighbors, and respect for their persons and property (that old "thou shalt not covet" thing) are passe; they're non-essential. But gambling, is essential.

In short, it looks like Chief (In)justice Roberts and his friends on the left in the Court have decided that they need not decide on something that is clearly a constitutional issue. By deciding not to decide, they have in effect rendered a decision, opening the door for more local and state trampling of the constitution and the rights it supposedly  guarantees. Of course, regular readers here already know my thoughts. The Bill of Rights was an addition, an addendum of "afterthoughts".  Apparently, the afterthoughts can be discarded if there are technocratic "reasons" to do so, like "public health" and "economic" ones, and that on the basis when there is as yet no clearly established science supporting "social distancing" or "mask wearing" or what have you.

I find it highly disturbing for another reason. Just today(Wednesday), as I write this blog, I heard a report on my local radio news that a state legislator has started a bill which has already received numerous signatures, making it illegal to impose local or state mandates on wearing nose feeder bags on the grounds that it is unconstitutional. Supposing it would pass, and get challenged, and brought to the Supreme Court, and it again decides not to decide. What happens then? One could argue that this most recent non-decision would leave it in place. Or it could hear the case, and strike it down in the name of consistency with its non-decision decision. The non-decision decision could, of course, eventually come with a real decision, but in the meantime, the door is left wide open to states like Nevada and its assertion on the power to "lawfully discriminate" for "public health" and "economic" reasons, which, let it be noted, could be the "economic reasons" equally of Harrah's casinos, or Karl Marx.

There's an implication here that disturbs me profoundly, and that is the perception that this non-decision decision will inevitably create, namely, that every time people try to work within the system to overturn clearly draconian over-reach, they are thwarted. The lesson they will take away from this is that the system no longer is interested in having even the appearance of constitutionality; why should it? The rights enumerated in the first ten amendments are, after all, the Bill of Afterthoughts (the ordo theologiae is always a harsh mistress). The perception will be created that the system only works to protect the "rights of the left", of the technocrats, of the bureaucrats, of the political class, but no one else.  We've already seen some states prohibiting even home bible studies, and attempts in some places to regulate how communion is celebrated, and even prohibit its celebration at all. From this it will be but a short step to mandate that certain liturgical and/or biblical texts have to be either altered, or not used publicly at all, in the name of "the wider community". And then will come the step of requiring churches, synagogues, or mosques to allow "equal employment", and force changes to their doctrine of priesthood or episcopacy, rabbinate, or imamate.

I could, and want, to continue my rant, with some choice and harsh language about all this. But I won't, because there's a final implication lurking in between the lines of this article, and that is that once again, Chief (In)Justice Roberts has taken a cowardly way out, raising the question, once again, of just who has what on him in their control files...

See you on the flip side...