Usually, October might be my favorite month…New England foliage, the best of baseball, my sister’s birthday, the Monster Mash…
1. I hate this stuff. A woman confronted Rep. Ocasio-Cortez during a town hall in Corona, Queens this week and ranted that the Green New Deal wasn’t enough to save the world. She declared instead that “we must eat the babies” to stop climate change. “We got to start eating babies! We don’t have enough time! … We have to get rid of the babies! … We need to eat the babies!,” she exclaimed. Then she took off her coat to reveal a T-shirt bearing the phrase: “Save the planet, eat the children.”
The Representative calmly responded that we have “more than a few months” to solve the climate crisis (“though we do need to hit net-zero in a few years”) and that “we all need to understand that there are a lot of solutions that we have.” Naturally, Tucker Carlson criticized her for not emphatically rejecting the woman’s cannibalism proposal.
The woman was a plant, and the disruption was a hoax. A right-wing PAC started by the late Lyndon LaRouche confessed, saying, “It was us. Malthusianism isn’t new, Jonathan Swift knew that. Sometimes, only satire works.”
Works at what? Interfering with legitimate civic discourse?
2. No, the latest SCOTUS abortion cases don’t pose a threat to abortion rights. The hysteria you may be hearing is more anti-Kavanaugh hype. The cases involve Louisiana’s law requiring abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to June Medical Services v. Gee, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Gee v. June Medical Services the U.S. after the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Louisiana law was permissible. However, in 2016 the Supreme Court struck down a nearly identical Texas law by a vote of 5-3. The theory in Louisiana is that the law there will not have the same restrictive impact as in Texas.
Even if the Fifth Circuit’s ruling stands, the cases are only tangentially related to Roe v. Wade.
3. These cases, however, may be more important...Next week, the Supreme Court will hear a case involving whether businesses can require employees to dress in traditional gender-specific garb. The Justice Department told the U.S. Supreme Court in its brief that businesses can discriminate against transgender workers without violating federal civil rights law, the stance the government will take in upcoming oral arguments. Solicitor General Noel Francisco and other Justice Department attorneys argue that Congress didn’t intend to include transgender status when it passed Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and that the law’s ban on discrimination because of “sex” referred to unequal treatment of men and women in the workplace. The brief to the justices also argues that Congress hasn’t passed prior bills attempting to add gender identity to the statute.
“Under this Court’s precedent, proving discrimination because of sex under Title VII requires showing that an employer treated members of one sex less favorably than similarly situated members of the other sex,” the Justice Department said in its brief.
There are three cases before SCOTUS regarding whether Title VII includes protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender workers. In R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Justice Department is arguing against the position of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that the firing of former funeral home director Aimee Stephens, after she informed her employer that she would transition from male to female, violated Federal law.
The Justice Department is backing the funeral home’s argument that it terminated Stephens because she didn’t comply with its “sex-specific dress code.” It said the decision in her favor “would invalidate all sex-specific policies, from restrooms to dress codes.” The EEOC argues that Title VII’s sex discrimination protections should cover LGBT workers.
Arguing for Stephens will be the American Civil Liberties Union. The funeral home, represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, told the Supreme Court that allowing sex discrimination to include “transgender status” would usurp Congress’ authority. The group’s attorneys claim that redefining sex discrimination will cause problems in employment law, reduce privacy, and erode equal opportunities for women and girls. The courts, they argued, aren’t the ones to balance these considerations.
It seems clear that giving LGBTQ Americans the same protection against discrimination as other minorities is the ethical course. This seems to be a technical dispute over whether the Courts or Congress should fix the problem. That argument is worth having, and I would not be shocked in a SCOTUS majority said that the omission in the law was unjust, but it was not the Court’s job to fix it.
In the long run, it will be illegal to discriminate against LGBTQ citizens in the workplace, as it should be. The only question is how drawn out, angry and divisive the process will be to get there.
4. Which impeachment-related story to use? How about this one: House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy released a letter publicly asking Speaker Pelosi ten questions, which, he wrote, should all be answered in the affirmative:
These are the ten questions:
McCarthy is properly showing the ethical and fair way to go about the impeachment process. It should be obvious to all be now that being ethical and fair are among the furthest things from the Democratic Party’s mind.