Scalia's Unpersuasive Argument

Republicans are engaged in a bout of soul searching following the calamitous results of the 2012 election. But the party is held back by ideologues who can't get with the times. Take same-sex marriage. The trend lines are clearly against the Republican Party's opposition to marriage equality; young voters overwhelmingly support full marriage rights for LGBT couples and each year the share of the electorate that supports gay rights grows. If the GOP hopes to sell conservatism to younger voters, moderating its stance on same-sex marriage would be a quick and easy fix.

Yet the GOP won't have an easy time severing its homophobic ties. Yesterday, during an event at Princeton, Supreme Court Justice and conservative icon Antonin Scalia didn't mince words in criticizing LGBT rights. "If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality," Scalia asked before a room of students, "can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?" The statement was a response to a question posed by Duncan Hosie, a gay freshman at the university. Unsurprisingly, the justice's answer proved unpersuasive to the room full of Millennials—all Scalia could muster was “I’m surprised you aren’t persuaded.” 

This term, the Supreme Court will hear two cases relating to same-sex marriage. No one is quite sure how swing justice Anthony Kennedy will vote, but few expect any of the four solidly conservative justices to rule in favor of LGBT rights. These two cases may one day be considered as the landmark civil-rights decision of this generation. While the Supreme Court justices themselves might technically be separated from the machinations of party politics, most voters are savvy enough to realize that Scalia and his conservative brethren are Republican icons as much as John Boehner or Mitch McConnell. The GOP's hopes for wooing young voters will be for naught if the party's ideological allies on the Court block marriage rights for gay couples next year. The conservative legal movement, just like conservative elected officials, is on the wrong side of history. The stances they take now will color voter perceptions for decades to come.

So They Say

"The Republican party is incapable of competing at that level. First of all, she's very formidable as a person. She's a very competent person. She's married to the most popular Democrat in the country; they both think [it] would be good for her to be president. It makes it virtually impossible to stop her for the nomination ... Trying to win that will be truly the Super Bowl."

—Newt Gingrich on Hillary Clinton's 2016 chances

Daily Meme: The Best of the Best of 2012 Lists

  • December is here, which means it's time to bring on the best-of-the-year lists!
  • Unsurprisingly, the 2012 election is a big star of this year's politically themed listicles.
  • And the most unoriginal entry of that genre is the "Best Political Memes of 2012," of which there are many
  • I mean, seriously, they are never-ending.
  • If those don't do it for you, there are many more to choose from, like best photos, best politically dressed womenbest and worst candidates, best and worst pundits, worst pundit predictions, so on and so forth.
  • There are even some local lists, like these Chicago and Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. ones. 
  • Some lists are less discerning, like this one on the 50 worst state legislatures.
  • The ten-best-articles-of-the-election lists are also streaming out: Here's a good one to start you off. 
  • Needless to say, if you aren't sick of the 2012 election yet, or you are even starting to feel a few pangs of nostalgia, don't worry, you'll be ready for us never to talk about it again once the final "best of" list makes its debut.

What We're Writing

  • Tom Carson on why Zero Dark Thirty isn't endorsing torture.
  • Abby Rapoport updates readers on the controversy over the right-to-work bill in Michigan


What We're Reading

  • Amy Davidson outlines the Republicans' fiscal-cliff problem.
  • While Noam Scheiber argues Obama needs to go over the cliff.
  • The Onion argues that it has the best plan to fixing the budget.
  • Jon Chait makes fun of beltway elite syndrome.
  • Stephanie Mencimer reports on the Tea Party's tight deadline for killing Obamacare.
  • Hey, remember the death tax? A group of wealthy Americans is trying to refresh Congress' memory.
  • Michigan's right-to-work law has passed in the state legislature.
  • Americans voted Mitch McConnell worst Senator.  

Poll of the Day

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has been touted as a future star for her party, a possible VP choice for Romney this year, and a potential 2016 candidate. Yet she might lose a re-election bid in her home state. In a rematch against her 2010 opponent, Democrat Vincent Sheheen, Haley loses 46-44 percent according to a new Public Policy Polling survey

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