‘The end of the conservative legal movement’: Hawley denounces SCOTUS ruling in fiery Senate floor speech

Mary Margaret Olohan, DCNF 

Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley condemned Monday’s Supreme Court decision on LGBT anti-discrimination Tuesday, saying the ruling spelled the “end of the conservative legal movement.”

“If this case makes anything clear, it’s that the bargain that’s been offered to religious conservatives for years now is a bad one,” Hawley said in a Senate floor speech Tuesday. “It’s time to reject it.”

The Missouri senator’s comments came after the Supreme Court ruled in a 6 – 3 decision Monday that federal law protects LGBT and transgender employees from discrimination under the same statute that bans unequal treatment in the workplace based on sex.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the court’s four liberal judges in focusing on the text of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, language prohibiting discrimination “because of” sex. Title VII may be enforced as long as sex is part of the discrimination, the justices ruled.

Justices Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas all dissented. Alito accused the court of “usurping the constitutional authority of the other branches,” while Kavanaugh emphasized that “we are judges, not members of Congress,” and said that the ruling was brought about by “judicial dictate” rather than a “hard-earned victory won through the democratic process.”

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Hawley said on the Senate floor Tuesday that the ruling, which he called a “piece of legislation,” changes the scope, meaning, an text of the Civil Rights Act, and will have implications that range from employment law, to sports and to churches.

“You might well argue it is one of the most significant and far reaching updates to that historic piece of legislation since it was adopted all of those years ago,” Hawley said.

“There’s only one problem,” he added. “It was issued by a court, not by a legislature. It was written by judges, not by the elected representatives of the people.”

The Missouri Republican said that the SCOTUS decision “represents the end of the conservative legal movement or the conservative legal project as we know it.”

“After Bostock, that effort as we know it, as it has existed up until now, it’s over,” Hawley said. “And I say this because if textualism and originalism give you this decision, if you can invoke textualism and originalism in order to reach a decision, an outcome that fundamentally changes the scope and meaning and application of statutory law, then textualism and originalism and all those phrases don’t mean much at all.”

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