Surprise! Justice on L.G.B.T. Rights From a Trump Judge

Michelle Goldberg in The New York Times:

The new season of my favorite television show, “The Good Fight,” begins with the heroine, the feminist lawyer Diane Lockhart, awakening in what seems at first like a giddy alternative reality in which Hillary Clinton won the 2016 election. She remembers the horrors of the last three and a half years, but no one else seems to. A crushing weight lifts as she convinces herself it was all an awful dream. Then she is sent to a meeting with her firm’s new client, Harvey Weinstein. There’s been no #MeToo movement. Instead, corporate “lean in” feminism is at its apogee. Diane realizes there have been gains made since Donald Trump took office that are unbearable to give up. Obviously, a world in which Clinton beat Trump would be better in a million ways. Still, right now we have two big examples of how Trump’s perverse presidency has inadvertently led to progress. The sudden, rapid embrace of the Black Lives Matter movement by white people is a function of the undeniable brutality of George Floyd’s videotaped killing. But public opinion has also moved left on racial issues in reaction to an unpopular president who behaves like a cross between Bull Connor and Andrew Dice Clay.

And the thrilling 6-3 decision the Supreme Court just issued upholding L.G.B.T. equality wouldn’t be as devastating to the religious right if it had happened under a President Clinton. Before Monday, you could legally be fired for being gay, bisexual or transgender in 26 states. Now the court has ruled that gay and transgender people are protected by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sex. The decision has extra cultural force because it was written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, a Trump appointee, and joined by the conservative chief justice John Roberts. “The whole point of the Federalist Society judicial project, the whole point of electing Trump to implement it, was to deliver Supreme Court victories to social conservatives,” tweeted the conservative writer Varad Mehta. “If they can’t deliver anything that basic, there’s no point for either. The damage is incalculable.”

More here.