The Supreme Court ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also protects LGBTQ employees from workplace discrimination. Believe it or not, this is actually a win for Conservatives. More on that later.
The justices said the law’s ban on job discrimination on basis of sex can be read to forbid bias against employees because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Trump appointee, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, spoke for 6-3 majority.
‘Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear. An employer who fires 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 undisguishable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids. Those who adopted the Civil Rights Act might not have anticipated their work would lead to this particular result. Likely, they weren’t thinking about many of the act’s consequences that have become apparent over the years, including its prohibition against discrimination on the basis of motherhood or its ban on the sexual harassment of male employees. But the limits of the drafters’ imagination supply no reason to ignore the law’s demands. When the express terms of a statute give us one answer and extratextual considerations suggest another, it’s no contest. Only the written word is the law, and all persons are entitled to its benefit.’
Gorsuch also said that the Civil Rights Act was surely not intended to protect gay and lesbian employees, but its words prohibited employers from making hiring or firing decisions based on sex.
Joining Gorsuch in the majority were Justices Roberts, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan. In dissent were Justices Thomas, Alito Jr. and Kavanaugh.
The ruling was definitely a surprise for people on both sides since the retirement of Justice Kennedy, who was the author of the court’s major rulings on gay and lesbian rights, like 2015 same-sex marriage decision. With recent Conservative appointees, it seemed as the court would swing more conservative.
In his confirmation. Gorsuch had promised that he would follow the words of the law and be guided by what it said, not by his view of a good policy or the intentions of the legislature. He said during the oral argument in October that the case was really close, but he concluded that if the law prohibited discrimination based on sex, that meant the LGBTQ employees should also be included.
In another surprise, Justice Roberts’ decision to join in the ruling shocked many, because he had strongly worded dissent in the case that upheld same-sex marriages.
In the end, this is not really a Conservative vs. Liberal issue, it merely prevents another way of discrimination against employees. It’s unsure how this will effect ‘at-will’ employment states like Wisconsin, where employers do not legally need any reasons to terminate employees.
There are many Conservatives who are complaining, but it does look like Gorsuch was following the Constitution by ruling on the way the law was written and not by what he wished it to say. I remember years ago, when Justice Scalia caught some Conservative wrath when he ruled Flag burning is protected speech. Scalia was right and people got over it. As a Conservative, I want justices to think, not be compliant robots.
It’s wrong when a Justice tows the party line, on either side. I am certain Gorsuch and Roberts will rule differently on more important issues. In a nutshell, discrimination has been against the law for years, this ruling is not earth shattering.
But, why is this a win for Conservatives? Simply put, it proves that the LGBTQ community does not get special treatment, they are entitled to the same protections we all get. Liberals still lose, even when they win.
Here is the SCOTUS RULING