Rick Santorum wonders aloud when Supreme Court became an authority on the Constitution

They just won’t let it go, will they?

Speaking to an audience at the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), Rick Santorum seemed genuinely confused as to why America was simply taking the Supreme Court at their word that marriage equality is a thing that exists now:

Over 200 years ago, as a matter of fact.

Santorum — who, by the way, graduated from law school — is but the latest in a long line of likely and actual Republican presidential candidates intent on convincing their base that the Constitution doesn’t say what it totally says. Despite their blather about upholding the principles of the Constitution as set forth by the Founders, calls to change, nullify or abolish the Supreme Court are decidedly anti-constitutional.

These are the same Republicans who had no problem with the Supreme Court having the final say on the presidential election in 2000. For our part, liberals thought the decision was wrongly decided, but we didn’t call for the Supreme Court to no longer exist, or to fundamentally change. We turned our attention to the absurdity that is the Electoral College, which, unlike judicial review, is an element of American democracy that other nations have not chosen to emulate to a significant degree.

You could make a bad argument, as four justices did, that the Supreme Court wrongly decided Obergefell v Hodges. But you can’t argue, as Santorum just did, that the decision isn’t the final say on the matter. It is.

Rick Santorum via Shutterstock (Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com)

Rick Santorum via Shutterstock (Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com)

Santorum isn’t the only conservative losing their marbles over Obergefell decision this week. Pat Buchanan suggested on WorldNetDaily that the decision, coupled with Oklahoma’s decision to remove the Ten Commandments from state capitol grounds, could lead to another Civil War. John Nolte, writing at Breitbart, equated the rainbow flag with the Confederate flag, wondering aloud why a symbol of LGBT equality — excuse me, “the Fascist, Anti-Christian Gay Pride Flag” — is allowed to stay up while a symbol of oppression and hate is forced to come down.

Perhaps it’s due to the fact that social conservatism — particularly as practiced by white people — has enjoyed a great degree of cultural hegemony in America for, well, ever, but there seems to be genuine confusion within the conservative movement as to whether rights are zero-sum. They seem utterly convinced that the extension of equality for those who have traditionally been marginalized amounts to marginalization in and of itself.

When we say that a religious school needs to choose between tax breaks and hiring discrimination, conservatives insist they are entitled to both. When we say that maybe it isn’t such a good idea for the government to endorse a racist, treasonous symbol of oppression, we are told that we just don’t get it. When the Pope tells Christians to stop invoking God in the name of anti-Christian ideals, namely profit for profit’s stake, he is told by those who are supposed to consider him infallible to stay out of politics.

Pat Buchanan is right to say that, in the long term, this claim to privilege is not sustainable. But we aren’t on the brink of another Civil War; we’re on the brink of a full-on racist and religious retreat out of the public sphere, where they should never have been in the first place. To an ever-increasing degree, conservatives will have to content themselves with hating people in the privacy of their own religious institutions, not with public funds or lands.

Just as the Founders intended.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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