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Beto-mania and Our Cult of Personality Politics

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued opinions in six cases that improve or maintain civil liberties. In the most highly awaited case, Obergefell v Hodges, the court legalized gay marriage in all states. It also preserved government subsidies for health care (King v Burwell), prohibited racism in housing subsidies (Texas v Inclusive Communities), prevented warrantless searches of hotel registries (LA v Patel), protected a pre-trial detainee’s right to make an excessive force claim against a jail, (Kingsley v Hendrickson), and required compensation when the government takes personal property (Horne v USDA).

First, in Obergefell v. Hodges, the court followed the growing trend across the globe and held that the U.S. Constitution requires that gay marriage be permitted and recognized in all states. The court noted that “[t]he nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times” and held that “new dimensions of freedom become apparent to new generations, often through perspectives that begin in pleas or protests and then are considered in the political sphere and the judicial process.” In this case, the court held that “[u]nder the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, no State shall ‘deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.’ The fundamental liberties protected by this Clause . . . extend to certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices that define personal identity and beliefs.” Among these constitutionally-protected intimate choices is a same-sex couple’s choice whether or not they want to marry.