One of the most anticipated decisions of the year came down from the Supreme Court and it did not go as expected. On Monday, the Supreme Court redefined “sex” in its 6-3 ruling in favor of applying worker protections afforded by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which forbids discrimination based on “sex,” to LGBT employees.
Many conservatives were disappointed with the court’s reasoning, but President Donald Trump seemed resigned, saying, “We live” with the court’s decision.
After the decision came down, Trump stated, “I’ve read the decision, and some people were surprised. But, they’ve ruled and we live with their decision. That’s what it’s all about. We live with the decision of the Supreme Court. Very powerful. Very powerful decision actually. But they have so ruled.”
This was not exactly the rant most expected from Trump since his administration had just recently finalized a rule change that excludes LGBT patients from Affordable Care Act discrimination protections.
As the case worked its way onto the Supreme Court docket, many assumed this decision would be conservative, since Trump has two appointees on the bench, giving conservatives a 5-4 lean.
As it turns out, one of Trump’s appointees, Justice Neil Gorsuch, sided with the liberals on the bench, along with Chief Justice John Roberts. Not only did he side with the liberal interpretation, he penned the majority decision.
“Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear,” Gorsuch wrote. “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 undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”
Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Brett Kavanaugh dissented.
“The Court tries to convince readers that it is merely enforcing the terms of the statute, but that is preposterous. Even as understood today, the concept of discrimination because of ‘sex’ is different from discrimination because of ‘sexual orientation’ or ‘gender identity,'” Alito wrote in the dissent. Kavanaugh also wrote a dissent.
‘Momentous step forward’
The decision was widely applauded by Democrats as an unexpected victory for the LGBT community. Former Vice President and presidential candidate Joe Biden said it was a “momentous step forward for our country.”
Many conservatives, meanwhile, expressed disappointment in Gorsuch. Conservative organization Judicial Crisis Network President Carrie Severino stated, “Justice Scalia would be disappointed that his successor has bungled textualism so badly today, for the sake of appealing to college campuses and editorial boards.”
With Justice Kavanaugh writing a dissent, it put two Trump appointees at odds — which is fairly representative of the climate in the first three years of the Trump administration.