57 votes

US Supreme Court grants federal job protections to gay, lesbian, transgender workers

24 comments

  1. [11]
    kfwyre
    Link
    Relevant story: at the job that I worked in college, two homophobic people tried to get me fired because I was gay (yes, I know the assumptions about colleges, but this was a while ago and I went...

    Relevant story: at the job that I worked in college, two homophobic people tried to get me fired because I was gay (yes, I know the assumptions about colleges, but this was a while ago and I went to a very conservative college). I never once spoke to these two individuals or had any interaction with them, but they made up allegations about me and raised them to someone above me in my organization. To this day I don't actually know what the allegations were.

    I was incredibly lucky at the time to have a supervisor who was even-headed and supportive. He knew my personality and work ethic. I had caught wind of what was happening from the grapevine, so when he called me in to speak to him, I knew what the conversation was going to be about. I don't remember the exact words he used, but he simply said "some concerns were raised about your conduct, but they don't seem to match what I know about you". Then he asked "is there any truth to what I've heard?" I replied that I didn't know exactly what the allegations were, but that I could assure him my conduct had been entirely above-board both in and out of my position (which was true).

    My supervisor then told me not to worry and that he would "handle things", and that was the last I heard of it. In hindsight, I'm pretty sure he protected me not only from the contents of the allegations themselves but also from a probably messy bureaucratic process afterwards. My involvement in the whole thing was that single conversation. I am sure he handled far more related to it on his own. I consider myself very lucky, as things would have been way different had I either had a homophobic supervisor (of which there were many where I was, believe me) or had I had someone not willing to go to bat for me. It would have been way easier for him to just let me take the fall, but he didn't, and it made a world of difference to me.

    Ultimately, even if I had lost that job, it wouldn't have mattered that much because it was an easy, cushy administrative college job that paid almost nothing, and I could have found comparable pay by going back to being a grocery stocker. The stakes are much higher for people whose jobs are their livelihoods and who have bills, loans, and mortgages to pay and families to support.

    If you talk to any LGBT individual you know, I guarantee you they have had to navigate the coming out process to employees and coworkers. Probably multiple times, as we have to go through it all over again when we change jobs. I'm as open and transparent as they come, but I still had a short closeted period during my most recent job change a few years ago, as I had to feel out the culture and make sure it was okay for me to be open. Being gay is widely accepted where I am, but even widespread acceptance doesn't map to individual opinions and feelings, and all it takes is one person (or two, as was the case from my old job) to potentially derail things.

    Knowing that we now have protections and recourse against situations like the one I faced a long time ago makes my heart warm and my head cool. It is another much needed step towards peace for people who are so used to looking over their shoulders.

    31 votes
    1. [10]
      Weldawadyathink
      Link Parent
      The fact that you (lgbt people in general) feel the need to come out at the workplace seems so weird to me. I have never once felt the need to say to an employer or coworker “hey, I am into...

      The fact that you (lgbt people in general) feel the need to come out at the workplace seems so weird to me. I have never once felt the need to say to an employer or coworker “hey, I am into women”. I don’t see how that is in any way relevant to the workplace. I am not trying to discount your’s and other’s experiences, it is just a foreign concept to me.

      I am very sorry for your experiences. I hope in the future nobody has to have this experience. Ideally sexual preferences should not even be relevant to the workplace. To be clear, I am not proposing a “don’t ask, don’t tell” culture, which is unhealthy. I wish it was similar to, say, a hobby. Employees don’t need to “come out” at work about owning a sailboat or liking to knit. Sure, it may be a conversation starter if you are just chatting, but nobody should be treated differently because of it.

      I hope this post didn’t come across as condescending or demeaning. That was not my intent. This is truly just a situation I have never heard of or experienced before. I am glad that that there are formalized protections in place now.

      10 votes
      1. [4]
        kfwyre
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I welcome comments and questions like yours, and I appreciate the sensitivity you showed. I do not find this condescending, and I'm happy to try to shed some light on it for you, as I think it can...

        I welcome comments and questions like yours, and I appreciate the sensitivity you showed. I do not find this condescending, and I'm happy to try to shed some light on it for you, as I think it can be a hard thing to understand from the outside.

        I encourage you to think of coming out in the workplace less as a definitive declaration of identity ("hey everyone, I'm gay!") and more of a gradual sharing of experiences over time.

        When people are talking over lunch about what they did on the weekend, LGBT people often have to decide between being honest about what they did or outing themselves. For example, if a woman went to a concert with her girlfriend, does she bring that up? Does she sanitize it and say she went to the concert but leave out her partner? Or does she not share that at all, just in case questions get asked? And then what about lunch tomorrow, and the next day, and so on? When, if ever, should she bring her girlfriend up? Lots of work conversations involve day-to-day life and experiences, and LGBT people have to risk outing themselves by being honest in these conversations or risk closeting themselves and lying by omission should they abstain from disclosure.

        The same goes for little things like having pictures of partners/spouses in their workspaces. My decision to put up a picture of me and my husband was something I had to think through and consider before I did it. The straight guy with whom I share an office didn't think twice before putting his picture up, because most straight people haven't had to consider the implications of what might happen should their photo get "seen" by others. When people come into the office, he's not worried what they'll think when they see it, but I have to consider what the potential response might be, particularly because I'm a teacher and I meet with parents of students.

        What happens when a homophobic parent finds out their child has a gay teacher? Am I opening myself up to their abuse? Will my administration stand by me should they raise an issue? I work in a supportive place with a supportive administration alongside several other openly gay co-workers, and this type of thinking still occupies my mind. Some of it is certainly overreacting on my part, but I encourage you to think about how my life experiences have primed me to have that level of reaction in the first place. The negative experiences in my life have made it so that I have to be aware of and guarded to things that other people do not. This is not unique to me, and is the case of anyone who faces widespread discrimination or oppression. People of color carry this same cognitive weight relative to racism. Women carry it relative to misogyny. When people talk about privilege, they are often referring to being able to operate without this hidden weight. One of the easiest ways anyone can see their own privilege is to ask "what am I allowed to do without worry?".

        The sad reality is that worry is normal for us because we're used to operating in spaces that are hostile to us, to the point where we have to plan for the worst and be glad when it doesn't happen. Even if a space is totally inviting and wonderful, we can't necessarily know that off the bat, so we still enter with guard up and self-preservation on the mind. Again, all it takes is one person to ruin things for us. Imagine a trans person with a single coworker who insists on misgendering them. Even if the rest of the office is wonderful and supportive, all it takes is one person to mess things up and remind us of the widespread prejudices that make us feel and, for many of us, believe that we're unwelcome or less than.

        Things are definitely getting better, particularly as acceptance is increasing and the paradigm of assuming that people are straight/cis until proven otherwise is breaking down. Ultimately, the ideal is what you mention: that it really shouldn't matter. The woman should be able to talk about going to the concert with her girlfriend with the same level of everyday disclosure as the people who talk about owning a sailboat or knitting. Unfortunately, until we handle systemic prejudice, discrimination, and oppression, the woman who went to the concert is always going to have to weigh the potential costs for disclosure like that in advance -- costs that owning a sailboat or knitting don't have. I know it looks trivial from the outside, but these are the types of ongoing negotiations that happen in the heads of LGBT people constantly, as well as anyone else who faces discrimination for their identity.

        30 votes
        1. [3]
          Weldawadyathink
          Link Parent
          Thank you and @pallas for the detailed and thoughtful responses. First, I am glad that you have a supportive school administration. My father is a teacher and does not have a very supportive...

          Thank you and @pallas for the detailed and thoughtful responses.

          First, I am glad that you have a supportive school administration. My father is a teacher and does not have a very supportive administration. I know quite well how much administrative support can help or hinder the teaching process.

          Now onto the more important part. This is a good description of what I did not understand about dealing with being LGBT in the workplace. Thanks again for the very well-written post. It is very poignant, and I will have to think about it further. I, as a human, apologize on behalf of the whole human race that this was ever a problem, and, even worse, is still a problem. Studies, and my experience, say that more exposure to different people and situations make people more welcoming. I hope that, now that LGBT is a protected class, more people will have the benefit of exposure. I want to live in a world where this is a non-issue. Hopefully we can make it so.

          10 votes
          1. [2]
            Gaywallet
            Link Parent
            Just wanted to jump in here real quick and offer yet another problematic issue when it comes to work and something that I am currently navigating. To add some context, I've been pansexual/bisexual...

            Just wanted to jump in here real quick and offer yet another problematic issue when it comes to work and something that I am currently navigating.

            To add some context, I've been pansexual/bisexual my entire life and have known it. This has given me great privilege, especially when I'm actively dating heterosexually. However, in many places that I've worked I've had similar experiences to @kfwyre, @Algernon_Asimov, and @pallas. For awhile my approach was to use gender neutral terminology when referring to potentially out-able events - I never used the terms girlfriend or boyfriend, but instead used partner, lover, significant other. However, I found out pretty quickly that people very quickly pick up on this language and for some reason feel need to press to find out. I found that they would press less when I started using gender neutral language throughout my entire life (always referring to others as them instead of him/her or using their name, asking others about their partners, siblings, etc.), but they would still press.

            I'm in my early 30s, so sexuality has been a bit less of a minefield than some of my older peers on this website so the potential of being outed sexually speaking, was a lot less worrisome to me, especially when I had a long term heterosexual partner (although I started to get more and more questions about children, another topic which frankly shouldn't be discussed at work). I had the privilege of caring less and less about this, especially as I started to work at more progressive and open companies and institutions.

            However, I'm dealing with another issue entirely right now. I also identify as non-binary and have been in the process of transitioning since last year. Perhaps most noticeable at work was the length of my hair. I cannot tell you how many individuals have commented and asked me about my hair at work in a way that shows a clear question about gender. Here's the thing about it - they don't ask if I'm doing anything new with my hair or say that my hair looks good, it's always a comment on the length of my hair. Not just a comment on the length of my hair, but a question about the length. Why does anyone feel the need to ask someone why they are growing out their hair or why they cut it short? If gender and sexuality didn't really matter to others, this wouldn't be a question. I am frankly most worried about coming out to the individuals asking these kinds of questions because I would never dare to ask this of a coworker, especially a fellow trans.

            I'm also in the process of legally changing my name to one which is more gender neutral. In many ways I am dreading navigating this at the workplace. While my current legal name does not cause me much dysphoria (nor does being misgendered), I still am seriously considering switching jobs just because I know I'm going to be dead-named by my colleagues for a long time, and through no fault of their own... adapting to a new name for someone you've known for years is a tough thing. I think perhaps one of the biggest reasons that I'm dreading it, is that I see no path forward without explaining why I am changing my name.

            Stop and think about it for a second - how often do people change their legal first name? Can you imagine a world where people don't ask this person why they are changing their name? I've actually always hated my name and likely would have ended up changing it back before I was certain of my gender, so I can think of reasons I can give as to why I would change my name, but I also am absolutely positive that no explanation short of one including gender will not prompt additional questions and pushing - why are you really changing your name gaywallet, why won't you let us into your personal life??

            It took nearly a year of using a different name in my personal life than my professional life (and there have been many situations in which the two have intertwined in ways which provided great awkwardness, such as seeing ex-coworkers who are now aware of my new name; as far as I know it's never made it's way back to my work but it very easily could have) to decide that I want to legally change it and deal with that issue at work. I decided that I am going to change my name and out myself gender-wise at work for two major reasons. First, if I do receive more direct bigotry as a result of this, it's a really good motivator to leave and search for a job elsewhere. Secondly, I feel like I owe it to the queer community to show off what the diversity of representation really looks like - I will likely have to explain a lot to my coworkers, but I think another example of a trans and non-binary individual who does not look like the typical trans and/or non-binary individual I believe is very healthy for society as a whole.

            Both of these reasons, however, come from a place of extreme privilege. I am not worried about being let off - I have savings and stock, and I own property. I am working at a place in which the leadership has expressed openly that they are accepting of queer individuals and have been working to increase the diversity within the organization. I cannot say the same for many of my trans peers - my heart goes out to them. Imagine a situation in which you would like the opportunity to know if people in your job are openly trans-phobic, but no way to do so without putting your livelihood at stake? Even knowing that your job is protected under title VII does not stop them from creating a bogus reason for firing you or from examining you with extra scrutiny as opposed to your peers or from blocking your promotions within the organization. This is an extremely tough social issue, and one we have a long way to go before we're at where we should be.

            7 votes
            1. Algernon_Asimov
              Link Parent
              This is an important point to make, so I'm pulling it out to emphasise it. An employer who wants to fire someone because they dislike their sexuality/gender identity will find a way to do it,...

              Even knowing that your job is protected under title VII does not stop them from creating a bogus reason for firing you or from examining you with extra scrutiny as opposed to your peers or from blocking your promotions within the organization.

              This is an important point to make, so I'm pulling it out to emphasise it. An employer who wants to fire someone because they dislike their sexuality/gender identity will find a way to do it, regardless of laws against anti-discrimination. A boss just has to to invent a reason that passes technical and legal tests.

              For example, I started a trial period at a new job, and was a bit too excited about this new job so I asked too many questions. I was annoying (surprise!), and my manager wasn't backward about letting me know my questions were annoying.

              Meanwhile, I had a habit of arriving exactly on time. My manager told me I needed to arrive 5-10 minutes early, to be ready to start on time. On the fourth day, I arrived 5 minutes early - only to be told it wasn't good enough, and I was being let go. The trial period wasn't working out.

              They sacked me for bad punctuality - but me being annoying was the reason they sacked me for bad punctuality.

              The same thing applies to being gay. We have stronger anti-discrimination laws here in Australia. We don't have a legal interpretation of a law that doesn't apply to sexuality; we have actual laws explicitly stating people can not be sacked for their sexuality or gender identity. So, if someone wants to fire me for being gay, they won't fire me for being gay - they would find another pretext, however minor, to justify my firing. But being gay would be the reason they looked for that pretext to fire me.

              4 votes
      2. Algernon_Asimov
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I'm going to add one of my personal experiences to those already here. A long long time ago, when I was in my early 20s, I went away for a dirty weekend with a man called Alan. We stayed at a...

        I'm going to add one of my personal experiences to those already here.

        A long long time ago, when I was in my early 20s, I went away for a dirty weekend with a man called Alan. We stayed at a lovely little bed & breakfast, did sightseeing during the day, and "stayed in" during the night. It was a very nice weekend.

        On Monday, someone at work asked me what I did on the weekend. In the space of a brief moment, I had to decide: whether to lie and say I did nothing; whether to tell them the truth; whether to tell them a safe version of the truth. I didn't know what their reaction would be if I told them I went away with a man. I didn't know who else in the workplace they would tell. I didn't know what the reaction of those other people would be. By telling one person what I did on one weekend, I could be subjecting myself to homophobic harassment and bullying from everyone I worked with.

        That's what we mean by "coming out at work".

        This is a decision that every gay person faces every time they have a conversation with a co-worker: to tell or not to tell. Even the most casual chat can result in outing oneself. We don't have to stand up in the centre of the workplace and announce to everyone "I'm gay!" We just have to accidentally share a detail that identifies the gender of someone we went out with. And, given that we can never know how someone is going to react, we become hyper-sensitive to what details we're sharing and what details we're not sharing.

        So, every conversation contains potential minefields, and every conversation is a potential "coming out" moment.

        If other people didn't care what gender I dated, then I wouldn't care so much. But they do, so I have to.

        I'm still having these moments, nearly three decades later. I joined a new company a couple of years ago, and there came a time when a conversation with a colleague led into one of those "coming out" moments where I had to decide whether to reveal my sexuality or hide it (I forget what we were even talking about, I just remember the feeling of approaching that moment yet again).

        For anyone who cares:

        • In the dirty weekend conversation long ago, I told my colleague what I did, but I changed "Alan" to "Elaine". That's what we gay people have to do sometimes, to save our skin.

        • In the conversation a couple of years ago, I metaphorically took a deep breath, and shared the information which revealed my sexuality. No problems arose from that. But it was still a scary moment. It always is, when you make yourself vulnerable like that.

        EDIT: Typos

        16 votes
      3. pallas
        Link Parent
        I think your confusion here is with regards to what coming out means. Coming out does not necessarily mean making statements about sexual orientation, or even having the orientation "be relevant"...

        I think your confusion here is with regards to what coming out means. Coming out does not necessarily mean making statements about sexual orientation, or even having the orientation "be relevant" to the workplace, but rather, can often mean not actively hiding it. One could argue that being out about something is the more usual state, and being closeted is the choice that makes it relevant, and makes it so that someone constantly needs to do to work to hide their orientation in the workplace.

        Do you need to be concerned about coworkers happening to see you with a woman outside of work? If your employer wants emergency contact information for you, would you need to choose not to give a partner's contact information, because they might notice that the person has a feminine name? Do you need to worry about carpooling, or having someone pick you up from your office? If you're in the US, do you need to worry about spousal/dependent healthcare coverage? Do you need to make sure to never mention someone who is a significant part of your life? Straightness comes up in the workplace, even if you never think to mention it.

        12 votes
      4. [2]
        aphoenix
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Edit: when I started writing this I hadn't seen the other comments. Both of the other replies are better and kinder. Sorry for "piling on". Have you never had or heard a friendly discussion with...

        Edit: when I started writing this I hadn't seen the other comments. Both of the other replies are better and kinder. Sorry for "piling on".

        I have never once felt the need to say to an employer or coworker “hey, I am into women”.

        Have you never had or heard a friendly discussion with or between coworkers that involved chat about a significant other? I would honestly find that very hard to believe; every place I have worked for the last 26 years has included at least some kind of chat about things that happen outside of work. Any of this conversation is either off-limits or "outs" people who have same-sex partners. These things aren't necessarily "relevant to the workplace" but they give someone an option of either being seen as being anti-social and not discussing their life or being seen for who they are and "coming out".

        Have you never had a large workplace party where you were allowed to invite your significant other? I've been to dozens of them over the years, and all of them are also events that would "out" people who have same sex partners.

        There are dozens of ways in which straight people signal that we are straight all the time without saying "I'm into women". It's the default mode, the assumption, and we don't have to say it, because everyone will normally just assume it so we're never made to feel uncomfortable about it.

        8 votes
        1. Weldawadyathink
          Link Parent
          No worries. I always value criticism. I think that this is they key point that I, and many people in my position, do not understand. I understand the words and what they are trying to convey. I...

          Edit: when I started writing this I hadn't seen the other comments. Both of the other replies are better and kinder. Sorry for "piling on".

          No worries. I always value criticism.

          There are dozens of ways in which straight people signal that we are straight all the time without saying "I'm into women". It's the default mode, the assumption, and we don't have to say it, because everyone will normally just assume it so we're never made to feel uncomfortable about it.

          I think that this is they key point that I, and many people in my position, do not understand. I understand the words and what they are trying to convey. I even agree with them fully. But I don’t think I, and people like me, truly understand what this means on an emotional level. I don’t think we can ever truly understand, but I try to be empathetic to situations like these for anyone. I have been in the workforce for significantly less time than you have, and I have been fortunate enough not to experience any of the hostile situations you have (I will admit that, since I am not the target, I may have simply not noticed them). I like to tell myself that I would intervene in any situation like this, but I have never been in these situations.

          6 votes
      5. emmanuelle
        Link Parent
        Note that this only really applies to sexual orientation. For transgender people, you’re sorta “forced” to come out, for obvious reasons.

        Note that this only really applies to sexual orientation. For transgender people, you’re sorta “forced” to come out, for obvious reasons.

        5 votes
  2. [3]
    aphoenix
    Link
    I did not post this to ~lgbt because I thought it was more "news". I felt this quite strongly, but if someone does end up moving it, I guess I could be persuaded. In my opinion, this is news for...

    I did not post this to ~lgbt because I thought it was more "news". I felt this quite strongly, but if someone does end up moving it, I guess I could be persuaded. In my opinion, this is news for everyone about LGBTQ+ issues, not just information specific to the LGBTQ+ community; human rights are human rights.

    This headline is from today, not from a decade ago, which is, in and of itself, newsworthy in my opinion.

    14 votes
    1. mftrhu
      Link Parent
      And if that isn't enough, homo-/trans-phobic people are not rational. Something that a lot of people seem to forget is the fact that homophobia is not only aimed at gay people, or transphobia only...

      human rights are human rights.

      And if that isn't enough, homo-/trans-phobic people are not rational.

      Something that a lot of people seem to forget is the fact that homophobia is not only aimed at gay people, or transphobia only aimed at trans people. Gaydar does not exist, but people still try to classify others based on their gender/sexuality, and they need to rely on external cues to do that.

      Long hair? Wearing a light red shirt, too tight pants, the wrong kind of shoes? Short hair, wearing a flannel shirt and boots against the cold? You can be the most hetero person who has ever heteroed, but someone could still decide that your non-existent gayness needs to be corrected, or treat you as a threat because you are "clearly" one of those "perverted transes".

      6 votes
    2. Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      I agree, this is news we can all celebrate! Which is nice, given how many other crazy things are happening in the world.

      I agree, this is news we can all celebrate! Which is nice, given how many other crazy things are happening in the world.

      5 votes
  3. [10]
    Stripey
    Link
    I read the text of the majority opinion and had a couple thoughts. My first point of note is who wrote the opinion. It's interesting that it was written by Gorsuch. This was the guy who Donald...

    I read the text of the majority opinion and had a couple thoughts.

    My first point of note is who wrote the opinion.
    It's interesting that it was written by Gorsuch. This was the guy who Donald Duck appointed to replace Scalia. IMO, Republican SC nominations as of late are meant to cater to the evangelical Christian interest, so it seemed somewhat suspect that he would be the one to voice the majority's opinion.

    I also found it interesting that the main line of reasoning for the holding is based on a textual interpretation of the letter of the law. I tend to associate that type of reasoning to Scalia, and usually remember it as a principle for upholding conservative ideals. Again, I find it interesting that a conservative judge is using a commonly conservative legal argument to uphold this unconservative ruling. I absolutely agree with the argument, but still find something disconcerting about Gorsuch being the majority voice here.

    Right at the end of the opinion, there's a paragraph about RFRA (religious freedoms restoration act), which I think, maybe somewhat cynically, is where Gorsuch left the door wide open for evangelicals. He basically says that their first amendment free exercise of religion can probably supercede the legal protections being upheld in this decision, but that's something to be decided later. So while this ruling is definitely a milestone, the struggle likely is far from over. I'm guessing we'll see something like the hobby lobby case in this context.

    And lastly, I question the political motivations that could inform the timing of this decision. Of course the court is supposedly apolitical, but idk what separation of powers among the federal branches really looks like anymore.

    We're in a moment of huge civil unrest, and lots of types of people are coming together in broad coalitions. Cynically I wonder if this a concession of sorts to slow down momentum of the protests. I'll bet not everyone on the streets has the same political agenda, so this could be a way of highlighting those divisions and breaking up unity.

    I'll add this all conjecture and I could be way off base.

    13 votes
    1. [6]
      Loire
      Link Parent
      Neil Gorsuch, if you can get over the fact that he is a small-c conservative is one of the very few good things, if not the only good thing, Donald Trump has done during his presidency. I imagine...

      Neil Gorsuch, if you can get over the fact that he is a small-c conservative is one of the very few good things, if not the only good thing, Donald Trump has done during his presidency. I imagine his pick is a holdover from the pre-Trump Republican administration. I understand that the undeserved nomination of Kavanaugh has sort of tainted Gorsuch, alongside McConnell's antics vis-a-vis Garland, but Gorsuch 100% deserves to be on the Supreme Court. More so, I would argue, than any other Conservative currently serving.

      Gorsuch is a textualist and an originalist but unlike his predecessor Scalia, who perverted those terms to essentially maintain the American Conservative political status quo, he genuinely adheres to those practices. He is also a proponent of natural law theory which actually goes against just about anything associated with the modern American evangelical movement and its authoritarian beliefs.

      For example, in his first three years Gorsuch and Sotomayor (a 'liberal' Obama appointee) have become fast allies and partnered repeatedly in defense of robust due process rights and skepticism of law enforcement overreach. Why? Because Gorsuch isn't a Republican toadie. He is one of the few American conservatives with morals and an actual belief system beyond power at all costs. He has also done doctoral work on the legal precedent for assisted suicide, and while his final argument was against the idea, he was surprisingly charitable towards it throughout the body of his writing, for a conservative.

      Despite the bootlicker's protests that this wasn't "textualism", Gorsuch read the original 1964 law's usage of "sex" so as to include gender and orientation, which can be argued to be a textual reading:

      An employer who fired an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids."

      But more importantly aligns with Gorsuch's unmarred support of personal liberty and freedom in America.

      Gorsuch doesn't likely personally support the LGBTQ movement, but he unlike many Republicans, can recognize the hypocrisy in his personal ideals and act accordingly within the judiciary. This isn't something to be conspiratorial about, there is no agenda here (on Gorsuch's part) to 'slow down the movement'. He just isn't the dogmatic bootlicker we associate with other Republican nominees.

      12 votes
      1. [5]
        moonbathers
        Link Parent
        Gorsuch ruled that a truck driver should have risked freezing to death if he wanted to keep his job. Yesterday's ruling was good, but that alone doesn't suddenly make him a good person or a good...

        Gorsuch ruled that a truck driver should have risked freezing to death if he wanted to keep his job. Yesterday's ruling was good, but that alone doesn't suddenly make him a good person or a good judge.

        5 votes
        1. [4]
          Loire
          Link Parent
          So you see the issue with textualism then? You seem to know the story of the frozen truck driver, did you read deep enough to pick out how textualism informed Gorsuch's dissent? I'll give you a...

          So you see the issue with textualism then?

          Under the rules of the US Department of Labor, a truck driver can't be fired for refusing to "operate" his vehicle because of "safety concerns."

          You seem to know the story of the frozen truck driver, did you read deep enough to pick out how textualism informed Gorsuch's dissent? I'll give you a hint: The truck driver did not refuse to operate his vehicle.

          We circle back to an issue of personal politics. Gorsuch is a big believer in applying the law as it is written (small-c conservatively one might say). He believes the way in which the judiciary has been interpreting law is a modern perversion corrupting the purpose of the courts. He believes it is Congress's duty to expand the law in a forward manner (towards the future with modern convictions) while the judiciary should be "backwards" looking, interpreting the law as it is written.

          In the case of TransAm Trucking v. US Department of Labor the law explicitly states the truck driver can't be fired for refusing to operate the vehicle in an unsafe manner. Alphonse did not refuse to operate his vehicle, he explicitly did operate it in order to preserve his life. Do I agree with the interpretation? Not from an emotional and human standpoint, but it is, explicitly a textual interpretation of the law. Gorsuch explicitly stated it is up to Congress to redraft the law with the appropriate protections. It's not, in his eyes, the judiciary's role.

          So for us, variably left leaning in politics, and non-believers in textualism, it seems like a terrible dissent. But Gorsuch doesn't care about emotions. He doesn't care about remaking law as a judge. He cares explicitly about judging the law explicitly as it is written, which he argues is every judges only role.

          9 votes
          1. [3]
            moonbathers
            Link Parent
            I think maybe I should have made my comment a top-level comment instead, sorry.

            I think maybe I should have made my comment a top-level comment instead, sorry.

            1 vote
            1. [2]
              Algernon_Asimov
              Link Parent
              Why? Your comment as a reply to @Loire produced an interesting reply from @Loire, giving us all an insight into how Justice Gorsuch thinks.

              Why? Your comment as a reply to @Loire produced an interesting reply from @Loire, giving us all an insight into how Justice Gorsuch thinks.

              4 votes
              1. moonbathers
                Link Parent
                Because as I tend to do, I got annoyed that people were praising Gorsuch and wanted to share my opinion which wasn't really relevant to what they said, and then when they responded I was like...

                Because as I tend to do, I got annoyed that people were praising Gorsuch and wanted to share my opinion which wasn't really relevant to what they said, and then when they responded I was like "maybe I shouldn't have done this". I think textualism and Gorsuch are both trash but it wasn't really related.

                4 votes
    2. emmanuelle
      Link Parent
      for some reason, i’m seeing exactly this on twitter and etc. people saying that this literally solves all problems LGBTQ+ people face lol and that’s just wrong.

      So while this ruling is definitely a milestone, the struggle likely is far from over.

      for some reason, i’m seeing exactly this on twitter and etc.

      people saying that this literally solves all problems LGBTQ+ people face lol and that’s just wrong.

      6 votes
    3. Death
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      As far as I understand Gorsuch is very much from he school "letter-of-the-law", so maybe that's not the surprising part. In fact you could argue his ruling is fairly lowercase c conservative...

      I also found it interesting that the main line of reasoning for the holding is based on a textual interpretation of the letter of the law. I tend to associate that type of reasoning to Scalia, and usually remember it as a principle for upholding conservative ideals. Again, I find it interesting that a conservative judge is using a commonly conservative legal argument to uphold this unconservative ruling. I absolutely agree with the argument, but still find something disconcerting about Gorsuch being the majority voice here.

      As far as I understand Gorsuch is very much from he school "letter-of-the-law", so maybe that's not the surprising part. In fact you could argue his ruling is fairly lowercase c conservative precisely because it does not contradict the existing laws but reaffirms them rather plainly. What's perhaps less conservative is that he took the side of having the courts decide that a legal definition needs updating, instead of deferring this to Congress (which is the counter-argument Kavanaugh made).

      The fact that this would seem to go against the Republican party line, or at least would offend a big part of it's base, is maybe also related to the fact that being an SC judge is a relatively safe position (by design, I believe). Gorsuch doesn't really have to worry about having the hounds set on him like a Republican lawmaker would for breaking with party orthodoxy.

      5 votes