Apple CEO Tim Cook ‘grateful’ for U.S. Supreme Court decision on LGBTQ workers

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook says he’s “grateful” for the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision that protects LGBTQ workers from job discrimination.

Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook
Grateful for today’s decision by the Supreme Court. LGBTQ people deserve equal treatment in the workplace and throughout society, and today’s decision further underlines that federal law protects their right to fairness. – Tim Cook

Greg Stohr for Bloomberg:

[The] U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal law protects gay and transgender workers from job discrimination in a decision that gives millions of LGBT people new civil rights.

Conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch and Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberals in a 6-3 majority, interpreting the longstanding federal ban on sex discrimination in the workplace to cover bias on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The decision could have a broad practical impact. More than half the U.S. states don’t cover sexual orientation and gender identity through their own anti-discrimination laws.

MacDailyNews Note: Last summer, Apple was one of over 200 U.S. firms to call on the Supreme Court to recognize LBGTQ rights.

The three dissenting justices (Alito, Kavanaugh, Thomas) explain that they voted in the minority basically because in the U.S., Congress makes the laws, not the judicial branch; they refuse to legislate from the bench (i.e. separation of powers).

In dissent, Justice Kavanaugh wrote:

Like many cases in this Court, this case boils down to one fundamental question: Who decides? Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination “because of ” an individual’s “race, color, religion, sex, or na- tional origin.” The question here is whether Title VII should be expanded to prohibit employment discrimination because of sexual orientation. Under the Constitution’s separation of powers, the responsibility to amend Title VII belongs to Congress and the President in the legislative process, not to this Court…

The Court has previously stated, and I fully agree, that gay and lesbian Americans “cannot be treated as social outcasts or as inferior in dignity and worth.” [bold emphasis added – MDN Ed.]

…But we are judges, not Members of Congress. And in Alexander Hamilton’s words, federal judges exercise “neither Force nor Will, but merely judgment.” The Federalist No. 78, p. 523 (J. Cooke ed. 1961). Under the Constitution’s separation of powers, our role as judges is to interpret and follow the law as written, regardless of whether we like the result… Our role is not to make or amend the law. As written, Title VII does not prohibit employment discrimination because of sexual orientation.

The full U.S. Supreme Court opinion for BOSTOCK v. CLAYTON COUNTY, GEORGIA is here.

45 Comments

  1. Alito, Kavanaugh, Thomas are correct, of course. All of the justices agree, but the law should be written by Congress and signed by the President, not instituted by judges. The judiciary in the U.S., all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court overstep constantly. They should not be legislating from the bench.

      1. Laws do not come from the judiciary. If you want a law to protect LGBTQ people, then there are proper ways to do this. “Clarifying” (concocting) from the bench is not the way it’s supposed to be done. Separation of powers was designed for a reason. It’s not an arbitrary whim. So, no, you’re wrong. It was not “correctly so.” It was exactly incorrectly so.

        1. Mr. Justice Gorsuch argues that his decision is required by the separation of powers. Judges cannot alter the plain language of the 1965 Civil Rights Act because they disagree with the social policy it requires. If Republicans want strict textualist judges, this is the sort of decision they can expect.

        2. And guess what, NO law was generated by the judiciary in this case. The plain text of the law made the ruling necessary. While I’m no fan of Gorsuch, he did write an excellent ruling for the majority. He answered all the nonsense by Alito, Thomas, and Kavanaugh to the contrary. They made assertions not consistent with the the CRA and how it’s written.

      2. Just because you happen to like this result does not make it right to legislate from the bench.

        The Supreme Court did the same thing with baby murder – creating something that was not there in law (the opposite, in fact) – and here we are, 65 million dead today since 1973 and counting.

        1. This is not about babies. This is about the civil rights of existing citizens. The Court found that existing law was applicable. No new law was created and there is no illegal sexual orientation.

          It’s not like they turned corporations into people.

          1. Most everything that’s gone wrong in this country in recent decades is “about babies.”

            “If we don’t respect the lives of our unborn children, enough to save them and fight for them, our lives mean nothing once we’re born.”

    1. Surely the role of the judiciary is at all times to ensure that justice prevails. You cannot by definition extend requal rights to some – it must be all. As time moves on and societies evolve these fundamental rights cannot be left to the whim of legistlators. Courts ensure that equal rights prevail because anything less is an aborgation of their fundamental responsibilty and hence unjust.

    2. First Then is the one asking them to “legislated from the bench.”

      I should admit that, because I’ve actually studied the system of law in the U.S., which is based on English common law, I understand that judges often ARE expected to “create law.” Clearly, First Then would rather live in another country like France that is strictly by a comprehensive code. Whatever.

      But, to clarify what others have said: the plain language of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act says that an employer cannot fire a person of one sex for something they would allow by another sex. That’s what Gorsuch’ decision holds. That’s what the originalist judicial philosophy demands.
      First Then has no actual philosophy – his argument is based solely on whether he likes the outcome. So, HE is the one demand that the court should make up the law.

      Also, I have to point out that MDN showed their bias here by quoting from the pathetically lazy dissent. They whine a lot, but seem to have no actual argument against Gorsuch, who actually obeyed his conservative originalist philosophy. They just are unhappy that (this time) that philosophy doesn’t let them abuse gay people.

      1. Nobody really gives a shit if people are gay or not. If it doesn’t affect the work, there is no basis for any argument.

        I actually agree that laws have already been written covering this. Why it is still an issue I have no idea.

  2. Note: No judges are involved in the process above (for a reason).

    A judge is to be impartial, fair and unbiased, and to follow the laws as they are written.

    That’s why the three dissenting U.S. Supreme Court Justices in this case were correct to dissent.

    The other six do not fully understand their jobs or the limits of their jobs.

    Overstepping judges are a BAD THING which, if you’re lucky, will never affect your personally, but if it ever does, you’ll understand very well why it’s a BAD THING.

    1. Not a Harvard Constitutional scholar, but I did participate in Supreme Court seminars with Charles Alan Wright, the leading expert on federal courts and the Constitution of his generation (he almost certainly would have been named to the Court if he had not taken on Richard Nixon as a client).

      Neil Gorsuch was nominated by President Trump and confirmed by Mitch McConnell’s Senate precisely because he is a textualist. He believes that judges should just look at the bare words of the statute without considering outside factors like legislative history or social context. (The theory is linguistic and philosophical balderdash, but it is Federalist Society dogma.)

      The bare words of the 1965 Civil Rights Act prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sex. The drafters may not have intended to cover LGBT, but their subjective intent is irrelevant to a strict textualist. All that matters is the word “sex.” If that’s all you look at, the statute prohibits refusing to hire a man married to a man if you would hire an equally qualified woman married to that same man. You cannot refuse to hire a man with an XX chromosome pair if you would hire a woman with the same genetics and qualifications.

      That is not a liberal argument. It is a profoundly conservative argument. Gorsuch does not see it as legislating from the bench, but as refusing to alter the plain words of a statute just because outside factors (like the judge’s religious beliefs) might dictate a different result.

      You may not approve the outcome, but liberalism had nothing to do with two of the votes (Roberts and Gorsuch) in the six-vote majority.

      1. “Neil Gorsuch was nominated by President Trump and confirmed by Mitch McConnell’s Senate” by simple majority after changing of the Senate Rules. Yet another Trumpian asterisk!

    2. Interesting. A “Harvard Law constitutional scholar” who clearly has no education on the difference between a common law system and a code law system. In the former, judges are tasked with filling in gaps and interpreting and developing law, while in the latter, every little detail must be spelled out in a comprehensive legal code.

      The Venn diagram of “small government” types and “pretend U.S. isn’t common law” and “hate code law countries like France” is just a pathetic 3-layered circle.

  3. It figures that Tim Cook doesn’t understand how the U.S. system is supposed to work. He thinks a guy or girl can change their chromosomes. They can’t. A mental illness is a mental illness and pumping mentally ill people with cancer-causing opposite sex hormones doesn’t cure mental illness.

  4. Well, at least we have three justices who still understand their roles:

    Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. pointed to that legislative action to argue that the Supreme Court’s decision usurped the authority of Congress and that “a more brazen abuse of our authority to interpret statutes is hard to recall.”

    “There is only one word for what the Court has done today: legislation,” Alito wrote in a dissent, which was joined by Justice Clarence Thomas.

    1. The Court minority’s role today was to express their personal beliefs by writing a dissenting opinion that has exactly the same legal authority, force, and effect as an opinion by First Then or Krioni.

      The role of the other six Justices was to issue an official decision of the Supreme Court of the United States that is binding precedent for every other federal or state court in the country, setting out the legal principles that all of us must follow under penalty of law.

      Mr. Justice Alito does not agree with the majority’s interpretation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. That and a couple of bucks will buy a cup of coffee.

      1. Stating facts is not “melting down,” snowflake.

        1. What is your evidence (or Ms. Severino’s) that either John Roberts or Neil Gorsuch give a damn about appealing to college campuses or editorial boards? They have jobs for life precisely to isolate them from that sort of thing. You can accuse them of many judicial faults, but liberalism or populism are not among them. This is just the reverse side of the extreme textualism that makes the two of them safe votes against affirmative action and gun control.

  5. It’s extremely clear the First Then and others bigots do NOT believe in textualism or orginalism.
    When that “doctrine” demands that people they hate are treated fairly, they abandon those who are applying it. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act just plain doesn’t let an employer punish a woman/man for something they would not punish the other sex for. They cannot be treated differently.

    I am not an originalist because I believe it’s a sophomoric judicial philosophy, and it is usually applied in childish and inconsistent ways (read most of Scalia’s opinions).
    However, if originalism exists at all, anyone who believes it has to agree with Gorsuch. Go read his opinion – his hands were tied.
    Alito, Thomas, and Kavanaugh are showing their asses on this. They don’t really believe in originalism. They DO believe that judges get to make up whatever law they see fit. It’s just that usually, the “existing” law fits their view of the world. When the actual TEXT of the law demands an outcome they don’t like, they whine and complain and bluster nonsense.

    Here’s the basic gist of the argument Gorsuch used:

    Example: an employer asked a good employee to bring their spouse to a company event. The spouse that showed up was a woman. The employer then decided to fire the employee because the employee was ALSO a woman, but would NOT have fired a man.

    That’s just plain sex discrimination. It means firing a woman for something that a man would not be fired for. It is ALSO bigoted against lesbians, but that is irrelevant, according to Gorsuch (and the ability to read the English language).

    But, rather than listen to me, go read what your usually-“my hero” conservative justice Gorsuch actually wrote.

    1. I just went and read Alito’s dissent, and I’m flabbergasted at the logical pretzels he has to bend himself into in order to ignore plain English. He has to pretend that “orientation” is a thing independent of sex. He tries to say that, when you compare “a woman who likes women” with “a man who likes women”, the difference between those two phrases is not “woman” versus “man”.

      It’s like this: The law says “you cannot use any negative numbers anywhere in your formulas.”
      Gorsuch and the majority read the plain English of that statement to say that the following formulas are NOT allowed:
      a) -2 * -3 = 6
      b) -2 * 3 = -6
      c) 2 * -3 = -6
      d) 2 * 3 = 6

      Alito comes along and even does a little chart pointing out:
      “But only (b) and (c) have a negative result, so (a) and (d) must be allowed.”
      “What do you mean, the statute said ‘anywhere’? Lah, lah, lah, I can’t hear you!”

      And this buffoon pretends to be a textualist.

      Clearly, his homophobic imaginings shut down his brain.

    2. Exactly. The Federalist Society and Senator McConnell insisted on a textualist judge, so they denied Obama’s nominee the consideration required by the Constitution. The reason, obviously, was that they don’t care about constitutional due process, but only about Tea Party outcomes.

      They got the textualist judge they wanted… but it turns out that real textualist judges are more concerned with the text of the Constitution and laws than with outcomes. Since they hold their jobs for life, they don’t have to deliver “acceptable” opinions for the Senator and Society

      Almost as big a shock as when Eisenhower nominated the Republican politician behind the Japanese internment camps and got Earl Warren.

  6. I believe that Tim was the first major CEO to support LGBTQs. He did it at considerable risk to his reputation and life. God knows how many times bigots threatened him with punishment, perhaps even death. Other CEOs have subsequently come out to support them now that he cleared the coast for them. This is yet another instance of Apple leading, others either meekly follow or blatantly copy. But it’s hard to know if others are merely supporting LGBTQs or the work of Black Lives Matter for business reasons or if, like Cook, they actually believe in the philosophy that generally increases justice in society.

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