Supreme Disappointment

Three decisions—Jerusalem, Obamacare, and same-gender marriage—carry an underlying theme that speaks of a lack of steadfastness on the part of the court and an overall failure of leadership.

Larry Gordon,

OpEds Larry Gordon
Larry Gordon
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Part of our mission here is to ask ourselves about world events—what does all this have to do with Jews and the Jewish community?

This time around, the specific focus is threefold: the Supreme Court decisions on Obamacare and gay marriage, and the negotiations in Austria trying to sew up an agreement with Iran on the matter of nuclear armaments for that terror-laden regime.

First, the decisions offered up by the Supreme Court on the two aforementioned issues were a disappointment. These two end-of-term decisions followed the disappointing decision by the justices on whether it is the exclusive purview of the executive branch to determine all levels of foreign policy. In this case, of supreme interest to our readers was the matter of whether those born in Jerusalem can have their U.S. passports list their birthplace as Jerusalem, Israel. The court essentially said no.

All three decisions—Jerusalem, Obamacare, and same-gender marriage—carry an underlying theme that speaks of a lack of steadfastness on the part of the court and an overall failure of leadership. On the Jerusalem matter, as we have written in this space previously, the justices were able to hide behind the way in which foreign policy has traditionally evolved in the United States. The decision that said that foreign policy is the domain of the president meant that the U.S. would once again not be recognizing the attachment of Jerusalem to Jews and Israel anytime soon. And that is simply a matter of lack of courage, along with not wanting to shake things up in a violence-prone Muslim world by making a determination that there is something uniquely Jewish about Jerusalem.

Israelis would probably agree. Who wants to give Jerusalem’s Palestinians and their agitators reasons to riot handed to them on a silver platter? The Supreme Court decision does not reduce or deplete our personal or communal connection to the Ir HaKodesh.

And then there was the vote last week that upheld the legality of Obamacare’s implementation. There are two sides to this healthcare coin that the Obama administration has served up to Americans since 2010. The good thing about it is that many people in this country who could not previously afford healthcare are now able to seek the medical attention that they need. That is important, as on some level, governments should be able to provide rudimentary medical care for their citizens.

For decades, we have had Medicare and Medicaid for the elderly and those living at the poverty level. The problem with Obamacare is that from the outset it was going to have to deceive the American public to be effective. The deception has been comprehensive while the medical coverage has been wanting. Plainly stated, instead of hiking up our income taxes mercilessly, the ruse here was to raise the taxes on health-insurance companies, which in turn resulted in these companies increasing our health insurance premiums dramatically.

So on the surface, it just looked like health costs were increasing—you know, those darn doctors. The truth of the matter, however, was that the government wanted more income, a move in the direction of the Obama mantra of redistributing income to achieve more balanced economics in the country, a Robin Hood type of effect.


Didn’t Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan think for a moment about the repercussions of a decision like this?
So with all the drawbacks and fundamental deceptions inherent in the new equation, the court used further deceptions to solidify the law, making it more complicated than ever to someday undo or reverse. Additionally, the country is so blind and unable to see what is taking place and being presented right before it. Today, even though we are paying higher premiums, our insurance policies are covering fewer doctor visits and procedures than ever before. Doctors by the thousands are rejecting all types of insurance coverage, especially Medicare and Medicaid which today cover over 100 million Americans.

So our fees go up (they are really reconstituted taxes) and our coverage continues to dwindle. But somehow this is a victory and a signature accomplishment for Mr. Obama. It is impossible to write an essay about Obamacare without reminding readers that one of the inducements to get the country to go along with the secretive plan was the president’s promises that “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” and “if you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance.”

That was only minimally and technically true. As it turned out, you can keep your doctor and your insurance plan, but the regulations were designed so that the doctors could not afford to keep you on as a patient and the insurance companies were forced to cancel many of the plans previously offered.

Now for the sensitive matter of same-sex marriage and the Supreme Court decision. I have discussed the issue with a number of elected officials, including those in New York State who identify themselves as religiously observant Jews, but who on the state level always supported this type of marriage. And in an eye-opening and even initially shocking revelation, for me anyway, I have been told by these officials that voting in favor of same-sex marriage is not about endorsing a lifestyle that Torah looks at askance but rather a matter of civil rights and protecting people’s freedom.

While that may be the case, the fact of the matter is that the media, led here in New York by the Post and the News as well as the New York Times, do not exactly view it in that context and insist on celebrating what they consider a victory by publishing photos of men and women in poses too brazen to foist on people in such a sudden way.

On this issue—along with several others—unfortunately, the court has lost its way. I saw a video clip the other day of Hillary Clinton in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008 saying that, in their view, marriage is a sacred vow and relationship that takes place between a man and a woman. These two were not always stuck somewhere between hopelessly liberal and even more hopelessly ridiculous.

The idea of redefining marriage wears at the underpinnings and foundations of society. Adults might be able to read the news and watch things develop and accept them or just shake their heads in disbelief. But what kind of impression and what kind of ideas about the future will the children harbor? If you thought young people were aimless and out of control, well, add confused and lost to the list of adjectives that will most aptly describe the next generation.

Didn’t Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan think for a moment about the repercussions of a decision like this? Have they given up on society or do they just not care anymore?

Let’s not be naive—men have lived with other men for hundreds of years, and the same is true for women. But now the court and, to an even greater extent, the media want us to nonchalantly incorporate into the lexicon a reference to a man as a wife and a woman as a husband. Do you get the impression that my objection to the reference means that I am homophobic, prejudiced, and intolerant? That would be an absurd assertion.

What I do object to is the willy-nilly fashion in which fundamentals are moved around like they were toys. For now the damage has been done and it will take some getting used to. The next big issue is the challenge to the constitutional right to freedom of religion. What if I do not want to host a wedding party in my catering facility for a same-sex couple because my interpretation of the Bible objects to such a union? Am I violating that couple’s constitutional right or are they profaning mine?

They could have avoided some of the problems by calling these unions or relationships something other than marriage. But then they would be violating the right to free expression and speech. It looks like our constitutional privileges are bonking heads and walking into one another. I suppose that’s their right.




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