Justice Thomas’ dissent: ‘The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away’


Justice Clarence Thomas has a huge “dignity” problem with Friday’s Supreme Court decision making same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, while one newspaper has a bigger problem with dissenting views.

In his dissent, Thomas invoked America’s past with slavery to illustrate his chagrin at the Court’s majority opinion, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy.

The corollary of that principle is that human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away.

Thomas further accused the majority opinion of casting truth aside, disregarding the meaning of “liberty,” and distorting “the principles on which this Nation was founded.”

His dissent concluded with a warning: “[The Court’s] decision will have inestimable consequences for our Constitution and our society.”


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