U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo., took to the Senate floor to address the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County on Monday that federal anti-discrimination employment law protects LGBT persons.
Some key excerpts:
“t is truly a historic piece of legislation.
“This piece of legislation changes the scope of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It changes the meaning of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It changes the text of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In fact, you might well argue it is one of the most significant and far reaching updates to that historic piece of legislation since it was adopted all of those years ago.
“Make no mistake: this decision, this piece of legislation, will have effects that range from employment law to sports to churches. There’s only one problem with this piece of legislation: it was issued by a court, not by a legislature.“
“This decision, and the majority who wrote it, represents the end of something. It represents the end of the conservative legal movement, or the conservative legal project, as we know it. After Bostock, that effort, as it has existed up to now, is over. I say this because if textualism and originalism give you this decision, if you can invoke textualism and originalism in order to reach such a decision—an outcome that fundamentally changes the scope and meaning and application of statutory law—then textualism and originalism and all of those phrases don’t mean much at all.
“And if those are the things that we’ve been fighting for—it’s what I thought we had been fighting for, those of us who call ourselves legal conservatives—if we’ve been fighting for originalism and textualism, and this is the result of that, then I have to say it turns out we haven’t been fighting for very much.“
“The legal conservative project has always depended on one group of people in particular in order to carry the weight of the votes to actually support this out in public, to get out there and make it possible electorally. And those are religious conservatives. I am one myself. Evangelicals, conservative Catholics, conservative Jews: let’s be honest, they’re the ones who have been the core of the legal conservative effort.“
“But, as to those religious conservatives, how do they fare in yesterday’s decision? What will this rewrite of Title VII mean for churches? What will it mean for religious schools? What will it mean for religious charities?“
“Now I will say this in defense of the court: it is difficult to anticipate in one case all future possible implications. That’s why courts are supposed to leave legislating to legislators. That’s why Article III does not give the United States Supreme Court or any federal court the power to legislate, but only the judicial power to decide cases and controversies, not to decide policies. But I will also say this: that everybody knows, every honest person knows, that the laws in this country today are made almost entirely by unelected bureaucrats and courts. They’re not made by this body.
“Why not? Because this body doesn’t want to make law. That’s why not.“
“If this case makes anything clear, it is that the bargain that has been offered to religious conservatives for years now is a bad one. It’s time to reject it.
“The bargain has never been explicitly articulated, but religious conservatives know what it is. The bargain is that you go along with the party establishment, you support their policies and priorities—or at least keep your mouth shut about it—and, in return, the establishment will put some judges on the bench who supposedly will protect your constitutional rights to freedom of worship, to freedom of exercise. That’s what we’ve been told for years now.
“We were told that we’re supposed to shut up while the party establishment focuses more on cutting taxes and handing out favors for corporations, multinational corporations who don’t share our values, who will not stand up for American principles, who were only too happy to ship American jobs overseas. But we’re supposed to say nothing about that. We’re supposed to keep our mouths shut because maybe we’ll get a judge out of the deal. That was the implicit bargain.”
“(I)t’s not time for religious conservatives to shut up. No, we’ve done that for too long. No, it’s time for religious conservatives to stand up and to speak out.
“It’s time for religious conservatives to bring forward the best of our ideas on every policy affecting this nation. We should be out in the forefront leading on economics, on trade, on race, on class, on every subject that matters for what our founders called the “general welfare” because we have a lot to offer, not just to protect our own rights, but for the good of all of our fellow citizens, because as religious believers, we know that serving our fellow citizens—of whatever their religious faith, whatever their commitments may be—serving them, aiding them, working for them, is one of the signature ways that we show a love of neighbor. It’s time for religious conservatives to do that.
“It’s time for religious conservatives to take the lead rather than being pushed to the back.”