Resistance/backlash/response to Supreme Court opinions
althouse at FACSTAFF.WISC.EDU
Tue Aug 29 13:54:48 PDT 2000
I'm passing along excepts from three recent news stories that show
different sorts of resistance/ backlash/response to Supreme Court opinions.
The first shows the retaliation against the Boy Scouts, which you may have
noticed in today's New York Times. The second shows the decentralized new
approach to praying at football games. The third shows the response of the
abortion protesters to Hill v. Colorado.
Are gay rights advocates better off having lost in Dale? The litigation
itself was effective in making the Boy Scouts openly avow their policy,
which brought a massive withdrawal of public support. The private
withdrawal of support is arguably more effective than a pronouncement from
the Supreme Court.
As to the school prayer case, the NY Times article went on to indicate that
opponents of school prayer are preparing to argue that even this
decentralized approach to praying has the school's support. But isn't the
new method of praying at football games constitutional?
The Colorado case shows the abortion protesters carrying on as usual.
The New York Times--Auguast 29, 2000: Scouts' Successful Ban on Gays Is
Followed by Loss in Support By KATE ZERNIKE
In the two months since the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Boy
Scouts of America have a constitutional right to exclude gays, corporate
and governmental support for the organization has slipped markedly.
Chicago, San Francisco and San Jose, Calif., have told local Scout troops
that they can no longer use parks, schools and other municipal sites.
Companies like Chase Manhattan Bank and Textron Inc., have withdrawn
hundreds of thousands of dollars in support to local and national scouting
groups nationwide. Dozens of United Ways from Massachusetts to San
Francisco have cut off money amounting to millions of dollars each year.
And Connecticut, in what may become a test case, has banned contributions
to the Scouts by state employees through a state-run charity. The state is
also considering whether to block the Scouts from using public campgrounds
or buildings. ...
While the decisions to withhold support will not seriously dent the $125
million raised annually by the Scouts national organization, the growing
effort to block local chapters from meeting in places like public schools
and state campgrounds raises practical problems for the Scouts. Since the
ruling, many public bodies, charities and companies, including Merrill
Lynch, are beginning the discussion that has taken place in Hartford. The
options, they say, are equally unpleasant: hurting children who are
benefiting from scouting, or supporting a position they find ethically
The New York Times, August 27, 2000, South's Football Fans Still Stand Up
and Pray By DAVID FIRESTONE
It started slowly at first, a few students holding hands in the bleachers
and saying "Our Father who art in Heaven" while football players gathered
on the North Forrest High School field Friday night. But by the time they
got to "deliver us from evil," most of the crowd of 4,500 was standing,
proudly reciting the Lord's Prayer, insisting that God cannot be removed
even from a Class 4-A high school football game.
School officials carefully stayed out of the way, in order not to violate a
June decision of the United States Supreme Court prohibiting student-led
prayer at games and assemblies if it is officially sanctioned by the
school. Handbills had been distributed by a Christian ministry active in
southern Mississippi urging people to pray just before the game, but no
loudspeaker was used, and there was no official leader.
"Just because the government shut down the prayers on the intercom doesn't
mean they can stop us from praying silently or just starting a prayer, just
by leading it by someone anonymously," said Savannah Spencer, an
eighth-grade clarinet player who prayed with most of the school band. "Our
band teachers and drum majors said we can stand up if we wanted to."
The scene was repeated, with various levels of participation, at scores of
high school football games around the South on Friday, and is likely to
grow as word catches on. Throughout the region, where the line between
religion and high school football has never been particularly well marked,
grass-roots efforts are underway to restore prayer to its traditional
position just before the kickoff. ...
The Rocky Mountain News (Denver, Co.), June 29, 2000, Abortion War of Words
Goes on at Denver Clinic/Protesters Continue Action at Facility on Vine
Street, By Lisa Levitt Ryckman
Jo Scott brought her ladder so she could look over the fence and into the
clinic parking lot.
Corine Miller brought the extra-large soft-drink cup she uses as a
megaphone. Delores Chavez and Margaret Roush brought their daughters.
They all came armed with hand-lettered signs, gruesome photos, righteous
indignation and a heartfelt message: Abortion is murder.
The war of words went on Wednesday at Planned Parenthood's Vine Street
clinic even though a battle had been lost.
The U.S. Supreme Court had issued a ruling that upheld Colorado's "bubble"
law, which requires Scott, Miller and their fellow protesters to stay eight
feet from anyone entering the clinic. ...
"It's a curb to the in-your-face tactics that were so common before the
passage of the bubble law," said Ellen Brilliant, Planned Parenthood
spokeswoman. "When there's a safe space created, it decreases the potential
The bubble law hasn't been enforced, mostly because it's up to the woman
and her family to press charges. The penalty for violating the law is up to
six months in jail and a $750 fine. But the protesters, who have been
arrested for littering, loitering and disturbing the peace, aren't worried.
"It's business as usual, either way," Miller said. ...
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