House Republicans say LGBT community too powerful for Supreme Court case

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By Alessio Tummolillo

According to ThinkProgress, conservative lawyer Paul Clement has provided the Supreme Court with a 60-page brief explaining why marriage should remain between man and woman.

The website mentions that Paul Clement has been paid $520 per hour by House Republicans, cumulating to about $3 million, the total amount of which has been paid for by tax-paying US Americans, to write up such a document.

In the brief, Paul Clement writes that the LGBT community is not a marginalized political group, thus the same-sex marriage debate should be left to the Democratic process, and not be brought to the Supreme Court. In Section II, part A of the “Argument” chapter in the brief (page 51), Clement writes: 

More than twenty years ago, the Seventh and Ninth Circuits recognized that “homosexuals … are not without growing political power,” and that “[a]political approach is open to them” to pursue their objectives.   Ben-Shalom, 881 F.2d at 466; accord High Tech Gays, 895 F.2d at 574. Whatever the limits of that conclusion two decades ago, there can be no serious doubt that the political power of gays and lesbians has increased exponentially since then.

In support of his argument, he goes on to list examples such as the first openly gay member of Congress, the support of President Obama and Vice President Biden, the victory of same-sex marriage voters in three states this past election cycle, as well the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

He then writes in the closing paragraph:

In short, gays and lesbians are one of the most influential, best-connected, best-funded, and best organized interest groups in modern politics, and have attained more legislative victories, political power, and popular favor in less time than virtually any other group in American history. . . . Gays and lesbians not only have the attention of lawmakers, they are winning many legislative battles. And the importance of this factor in the analysis cannot be gainsaid. . . . [G]iven that the ultimate inquiry focuses on whether a group needs the special intervention of the courts or whether issues should be left for the democratic process, the political strength of gays and lesbians in the political process should be outcome determinative here.

ThinkProgress Editor Ian Millhiser has weighed in on Clement’s brief, stating:

 “Political victories do not cancel out Americans’ constitutional rights, they augment them, and Clement is simply wrong to suggest otherwise.

“Ultimately, the sheer absurdity of Clement’s argument exposes why his claims must not prevail at the Supreme Court. The Constitution of Seneca Falls and Selma is also the Constitution of Stonewall. Clement’s argument would deny all three.”

You can find the brief in full here.

 

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