The government shutdown is not driven by a Republican desire to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Nor is it about trying to reign in government spending or limit the national debt. It is, at its core, the latest act in an effort by the far right of the Republican Party to delegitimize the presidency of Barack Obama.
This was a hugely important week for LGBT Americans as well as advocates for equality for all citizens because the Supreme Court heard cases regarding California's Proposition 8 as well as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). It was also, however, a very important week for the Supreme Court. The Court may or may not decide to overturn both of these discriminatory pieces of legislation, but it is clear that the arc of history is again bending towards equality. LGBT Americans are winning; and those that would continue to seek to deny equality to all Americans are losing. This puts the Court in the position of either helping to bring about an inevitable, and positive, change, or of being conspicuous in support of bigoted laws and prejudices from another era.
Only Chief Justice John Roberts can know why he decided to vote to form the majority on the recent court case seeking to overturn health care legislation. Nonetheless, his decision was enormously important in determining what health care will look like in the U.S. for years to come, as well as for political reasons which will shape the environment for this election and beyond. For far right activists, however, Roberts' decision must have felt like a punch in the gut. Perhaps when they recover from that initial shock they will also see it, at least partially, as a wake-up call.
While the decision by the California Supreme Court upheld a discriminatory ballot initiative, it should not have been a surprise. The vote by the California Supreme Court was not even close as Proposition 8 was upheld by a 6-1 majority. The lone dissenter was Justice Carlos Moreno. Much of the coverage of the decision overlooked the important point that the vote was on, excuse the pun, straight party lines. All six judges who voted in the affirmative had been initially appointed by Republican governors. Moreno is the only Supreme Court justice in California appointed by a Democrat.