Justice Gorsuch delivered the 6-3 majority judgment (Roberts CJ, and Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan JJ joining, Alito J, Thomas J, Kavanaugh J dissenting) in Bostock v Clayton County, extending the protection of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to gay and transgender discrimination. His Honour opened:
“Sometimes small gestures can have unexpected consequences. Major initiatives practically guarantee them. In our time, few pieces of federal legislation rank in significance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There, in Title VII, Congress outlawed discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear. An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids. Those who adopted the Civil Rights Act might not have anticipated their work would lead to this particular result. Likely, they weren’t thinking about many of the Act’s consequences that have become apparent over the years, including its prohibition against discrimination on the basis of motherhood or its ban on the sexual harassment of male employees. But the limits of the drafters’ imagination supply no reason to ignore the law’s demands. When the express terms of a statute give us one answer and extratextual considerations suggest another, it’s no contest. Only the written word is the law, and all persons are entitled to its benefit.”
Editorial Note – Samantha Hodgson
Dissenting Opinion of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
The late Justice Antonin Scalia maintained the position that Roe v Wade “fanned into life an issue that has inflamed our national politics in general, and has obscured with its smoke the selection of Justices to this Court in particular, ever since.” This Justice was against “the abortion-umpiring” business to which the Court was now accustomed. In 2020, June Medical Services, LLC v Russo (formerly Gee) brings to the Court the same argument that states and practitioners have had since Roe. The opinions of Justice Scalia give a different perspective to the decade long argument. His manner of thinking often contradicts that of his colleagues.