Post-election (willful) ignorance

Let’s start with these two:

  • “Will my marriage stay legal?”
  • “Will Roe v. Wade be overturned?”

Anyone who asks these questions obviously does not know how the Courts work. In the Supreme Court of the United States and virtually every other Court in the US (including State and local Courts) is a concept called stare decisis. This means “let the decision stand”. This concept goes by a different name of which most people are familiar: “precedent”.

While it would not be true to say that the Supreme Court has never reversed itself, it would also not be true to say it happens often. It is quite rare. And, in general, it requires presenting to the Court through a properly introduced case that the Court

  • had a demonstrable and/or egregious misinterpretation of standing law, precedent, or the Constitution (note the SCotUS is generally perceived to be the arbiter of its own precedent), or
  • has an unresolved conflict in is precedent history that is highlighted by a lower Court (see Ring v. Arizona, 538 US 584 (2000), for an example)

Not liking an outcome is not enough to get the Court to reverse itself.

Two cases come to mind where the Supreme Court has explicitly reversed itself: Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, and West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette. In both cases, the Supreme Court was nullifying standing precedent in favor of a completely different ruling.

In the former, the Supreme Court, under Chief Justice Earl Warren, oversaw the beginning of the dismantling of state-sponsored and state-enforced mandatory segregation that had been upheld under the “separate but equal” doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson. In the latter, the Supreme Court overturned a ruling (Minersville School District v. Gobitis) that upheld compelling student recitation of the pledge of allegiance.

I think we can all agree that the overruled cases were egregious interpretations of the Constitution.

Roe v. Wade has stood the test of precedent since its publication. It has been strengthened by Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992, and most recently with Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt. And the foundations on which Roe draws its reasoning comes from several other preceding opinions: Griswold v. Connecticut and its companion Eisenstadt v. Baird, and United States v. Vuitch.

And it must be pointed out that the respect of stare decisis is why Roe v. Wade has not only not been overturned, even in the face of a 5-4 “conservative” majority, but likely never will. And the same with Obergefell v. Hodges, which overturned and declared a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment the restriction of gays from being able to marry an adult partner of his or her choice.

If you honestly think a Trump presidency means those decisions, that long-standing precedent and the respect of stare decisis goes away, you’re not only deluded beyond the limits of what I’m capable of believing, you have no idea how things actually work.

The United States is a federated republic. The President is merely the presiding officer of the Executive Branch. He is not a dictator. The country does not bend to his whim. You would be thinking of North Korea.

But it does mean that DC v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago also were largely not in danger of being overturned. Instead the fears of gun rights advocates wasn’t losing at the Supreme Court, but the constant, subtle chipping away at gun rights in the US. Such as what was seen with the various ballot initiatives this last go around. And Clinton’s constant reverence of Australia as a model for the US.

Speaking of Clinton, it also means that, despite her efforts, she would have been unlikely to get Citizens United v. FEC overturned as well.

  • “Are we safe?”
  • “Am I safe?”

The first question appeared three times in the image. Let me answer that question succinctly: we are no less safe today than we were last week before the election. Even taking into account the actual violent crimes that have occurred since the election, there is no reason to believe you are at any higher risk of being the victim of any crime, let alone any hate crime.

Yet paranoia is alive and well.

If you legitimately have concerns about your safety, you do have the right to own and possess a firearm for your personal safety — provided you do not fall under the ATF’s classification of “prohibited persons”. Buy one. And learn how to use it to defend yourself.

But at the same time, get over your paranoia.

The ones who are so concerned about their safety in the wake of Trump’s election I feel have the fear of having brought it on themselves. You see, prior to all the identity politics of the last several years, most couldn’t care less if you’re homosexual, transsexual, or what have you. We just didn’t care.

The only reason there’s been a backlash with regard to a lot of their demands is because you shoved your personal identities in our faces and acted like they mattered more than your actions, or acted like they excused your actions. If you felt emboldened by a black President and felt emboldened by the prospect of a female President, emboldened by the prospect of being able to shove more of your identity politics on us and the limitations to our free speech and due process rights that have come in their wake, then you have only yourself to blame for not only Trump’s victory, but your paranoia and anxiety in its wake.

And if you truly feel in fear of your life, time to swallow your discontent with the Second Amendment and exercise the rights it protects by buying a gun. Who knows, you might even grow to like being a gun owner.

  • “What’s going to happen to my Healthcare?”

In the short term, not much.

Many feel that Republicans just couldn’t wait to get that majority in Congress plus the White House to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Rest easy, though. Now that they have the reins, they’re not going to be so quick to do that. “But they voted xxx number of times before to repeal it.” And that was also when Republicans knew they had a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding with the repeal. Now that a repeal has a much better chance of succeeding, they’re not going to be so quick about it.

And Trump has already said he’s not interested in a full repeal. Instead he wants to rework and retool the Act into something that will work better in the long term.

But much of what already exists is unlikely to change, or change much in the next few years.

  • “Will my trans child be safe at school?”

Trans child? If you’re asking this question legitimately, you are a rare parent indeed. Few children are capable of understanding gender dysphoria, the true definition of trans-sexuality, and any who do experience it won’t realize it until they hit puberty. Your child is very, very likely not on par with Kim Petras, Jazz Jennings, and Jackie Green.

But let’s set that aside for now.

Many fear that Trump supporters will be emboldened by his election to be downright tyrannical to minority groups and women. So far this has not manifested. And there’s little reason to believe it will.

The thing that needs to be kept in mind is that the kind of people who would feel emboldened to do such things by Trump’s election are the kind of people who would look for any excuse to do it anyway. In other words, your fears are largely overblown. This doesn’t mean you let your guard down, but it does mean you don’t walk through life constantly looking over your shoulder.

School, especially high school, can be a downright traumatizing place for some, especially given the absolute difficulty of curbing or countering bullying. But will bullying escalate against minorities — especially LGBT students — in the wake of Trump’s election? I’ve yet to see any reason to believe that to be the case.

And don’t fall for the fallacy and mental trap of believing that an increase in reporting or awareness means an increase in incidence.

  • “Will this increase the militarization of the police in my predominantly black neighborhood?”

I think you’ve forgotten the separation of powers between the Federal, State, and local governments. Trump’s presidency won’t increase the police presence anywhere unless he decides to step up enforcement of Federal laws in areas where Federal crimes are prevalent.

A new United States President largely won’t change how your local police operate.