Meanwhile, at the Supreme Court:
Although the conservative majority’s decision was unsigned and ran just four pages long, it radically altered the law of religious liberty. Since 1990’s Employment Division v. Smith, the Supreme Court has not interpreted the First Amendment’s free exercise clause to require religious exemptions to laws that don’t discriminate against religion. In Tandon, however, the majority effectively overturned Smith by establishing a new rule, often called the “most favored nation” theory. Under this doctrine, any secular exemption to a law automatically creates a claim for a religious exemption, vastly expanding the government’s obligation to provide religious accommodations to countless regulations. In Tandon, for instance, the Supreme Court held that California had to let people gather indoors for Bible study because it allowed them to gather indoors to get a haircut, eat, or take a bus; if Californians can get pedicure, they must also be permitted to spend hours in close quarters discussing the Bible. And the Supreme Court created this sweeping new rule through its shadow docket—those cases decided with minimal briefing and no oral argument outside the court’s normal procedure.
A solid analysis, and expect more of it to come, but I am begging everyone, please stop calling the Supreme Court majority “conservative.” They are anything but. They do not care about precedent or stare decisis, they do not care about stability or preserving the current order, none of the things with which the word conservative have previously been associated.
They, and the current Republican party, are neither conservative or reactionary, because they are not actually reacting to anything in reality. They are regressive radicals intent on creating a new society and new social order that never existed anywhere at any time other than in their heads. Refusing to acknowledge this and labeling these lunatics as conservative normalizes them. There is NOTHING normal about these guys. Their beliefs are an amalgamation of the know-nothing party, Birchers, gun nuts, and theocrats, but there is NOTHING conservative about them.
Thank you for coming to my TED talk.