Lindsey Graham Asked Amy Coney Barrett About Polygamy and People Got Mad Online
During this morning’s questioning of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R–S.C.) asked Barrett whether there was a constitutional right to polygamy.
Barrett didn’t answer because, she explained, “it’s an issue that somebody might litigate before the court at some point.” Graham wasn’t truly trying to pin her down on polygamy. He was actually bringing up Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court decision from 2015 that mandated the states and the federal government recognize same-sex marriages.
Graham brought up Obergefell because he wanted to discuss how likely it might be that the Supreme Court may reconsider the ruling. Just last week, Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justice Samuel Alito, wrote a statement calling on the Supreme Court to take another look at Obergefell to make sure that the court properly protected the right of people to express religious objections to gay marriage.
That’s also not what Graham is after here. He was getting Barrett on the record explaining the circumstances by which the court would revisit Obergefell. He is pointing out that reliance on the decision to determine other cases might prompt the Court to reconsider Obergefell (or Roe v. Wade, or other Supreme Court precedents) if the Court believes that the case was wrongly decided. Barrett agreed that’s how the Court would work, though to be clear, she did not say or agree that Obergefell was decided “wrongly.”
Graham, though, has a bit of an obsession with insisting that same-sex marriage recognition may eventually open the door for legal recognition of polygamous marriages. He previously asked Loretta Lynch during her hearings to be confirmed as attorney general under President Barack Obama what the difference was between legally recognizing same-sex marriage
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