Conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh wasn’t too happy with the Supreme Court’s twin decisions bolstering gay marriage rights yesterday. In fact, he said that it served to move along the "disintegration of the United States."
Limbaugh’s harsh response certainly isn’t much of a surprise, given his tendency for similarly bombastic right-wing rhetoric. But earlier this year, he expressed his belief that legal same-sex marriage was an inevitability.
“I think the inertia is clearly moving in the direction that there is going to be gay marriage at some point nationwide,” he said while SCOTUS was holding hearings on the Proposition 8 case.
At that point, Limbaugh insisted that conservatives had “lost” the argument thanks to rhetoric. “As far as I’m concerned” he said,”once we started talking about gay marriage, traditional marriage, opposite-sex marriage, same-sex marriage, hetero marriage, we lost. It was over.”
On Wednesday, Limbaugh criticized not just the decision itself but what he considered a larger diminution of SCOTUS as an institution itself. Following the traditional conservative argument that the judiciary has a tendency toward anti-democratic “activism,” he used Justice Antonin Scalia’s strong dissent as proof that the “the court is no different than a barroom now.”
“If Scalia's dissent is right, what it means is that the common, ordinary fisticuff arguments between left and right in this country have now taken over the Supreme Court. And the law and judicial restraint, temperament and all that has evaporated.”
In his dissent, Scalia offered a similarly angry attack on the majority’s decision, calling it “legalistic argle-bargle.”
“It is an assertion of judicial supremacy over the people's Representatives in Congress and the Executive,” Scalia said. “It envisions a Supreme Court standing (or rather enthroned) at the apex of government, empowered to decide all constitutional questions, always and everywhere 'primary' in its role."
Scalia read portions of the dissent from the bench, a signal that he was especially displeased with the majority’s decision. But he joined the majority in the Proposition 8 case, which held that SCOTUS had no jurisdiction in the matter and sent it back to the lower court that had previously struck down the California gay marriage ban.