Dept. of silver linings 2017: Supreme Court retains a precarious majority for equality

John Gallagher · Tuesday, December 26, 2017
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

No use pretending that 2017 was a terrific year. Just two words: President Trump, and everything that implies, from antigay appointees to transphobic policies. But it’s easy to overlook the positive trends that emerged in the past year–in part a reaction to Trump. Call it the counter revolution.

Here’s the first in our year-in-review series, Silver Linings 2017. 

The Supreme Court remains progay.

There was a lot of speculation that Justice Anthony Kennedy would step down at the end of the last term. At 81, he deserves a break after penning such remarkable pro-LGBTQ decisions in cases ranging from Romer v. Evans to Obergefell v. Hodges.

As the swing vote on gay issues and their most eloquent supporter, Kennedy would no doubt have been replaced by an ultra-conservative in the Neil Gorsuch mold, paving the way for a right-wing clawback of the gains we’ve made. Perhaps to protect his legacy from such regressive legal forces, Kennedy stuck around.

As we head into the holidays and new year, let’s reread his eloquent tribute to love that was the last graph of Obergefell v. Hodges that brought so many to tears

At the same time, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (who doubles as a Justice League superhero) shows no signs of slowing down at age 84. Her refusal to retire is denying Trump another Court appointment. With Kennedy, she forms a firewall against the antigay hordes eager to return to pre-equality days. If both were to retire or die before Dems can retain the Senate majority, we’re looking at a 7-2 Trump majority. Game over.

Their willingness to keep working is something truly to be grateful for.

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