Jeffrey Rosen, The Atlantic: The Dangers of a Constitutional ‘Right to Dignity’
Great article, but one small point caught my eye.
If the Supreme Court strikes down same-sex marriage bans, it may well do so on the grounds that they violate the dignity of gay couples. And although proponents of marriage equality may cheer a decision along these lines when it is delivered, the expansion of the constitutional right to dignity may produce far-reaching consequences that they will later have cause to regret.
Catch the phrase: “the expansion of the constitutional right to dignity.”
Is that not amazing?
Look at the beginning of the next paragraph:
The oral arguments at the Supreme Court on Tuesday made clear that Justice Anthony Kennedy’s biggest contribution to the gay-marriage debate is his expansion of constitutional protections for the right to dignity.
“[T]he right to dignity.”
The word dignity is nowhere to be found in either the original Constitution, nor in any of its 27 amendments.
…although Kennedy’s description of the dignitary interests of LGBT couples is inspiring, and it accurately describes their social experience, the roots of the right to dignity in constitutional text, history, and tradition are harder to discern.
That is both true and troubling.
The idea of Kennedy—or any other life-appointed judge—expanding constitutional protections based solely on his own sensibilities is not only troubling, it is also profoundly destructive to the idea of rule of law.
Silly me, indeed.
Why do we always continue on as if this is any way permissible?