7 Bold Predictions for Constitutional Liberty in 2012

Sacramento, CA – No one can predict the future, right? Maybe not, but we can make bold prognostications based on years of experience and closely watching trends in the legal world. With that in mind, Pacific Justice Institute offers the following predictions of constitutional and religious liberty headlines in 2012.

1. Health care “reform” will hit a roadblock in the Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court has already signaled its concerns with the constitutionality of the President’s major legislative accomplishment, scheduling more time for oral arguments than has been allotted to a single case in decades. Our bet is that, ultimately, a majority of the Justices will disapprove of this extraordinary power play by the federal government.

2. Religious private schools will need to rewrite their employee handbooks. While health care reform is getting most of the attention at the Supreme Court, other important constitutional cases will be decided by the end of June. The Hosanna Tabor case is grappling with whether, and to what extent, religious private schools should get similar deference as churches in employment decisions. Whatever the outcome of this case, PJI expects that it will provide significant new guidance that should prompt many such schools to revise policies.

3. Same-sex marriage will reach the Supreme Court—but not in the way most Californians expect. As defenders of traditional marriage gear up for an epic showdown at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals over Prop. 8, several other cases from around the country are less noticeably making a concerted push toward the High Court over the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). PJI thinks it is very likely that one or more DOMA cases will be accepted by the Supreme Court in late 2012 and decided in 2013.

4. The Occupiers will outlast their welcome. Many Americans sympathize to some degree with the Occupy Wall Street movement that has recently spread to hundreds of other cities. But as the movement shows off more of its radical roots, from unpopular port blockades to petty vandalism and civil disobedience, the public is losing interest and empathy. As 2012 political campaigns heat up, we expect increasingly bizarre and disturbing antics from the Occupiers that will only further marginalize them.

5. Unions will spare no expense to preserve their political power in California. Speaking of elections, the 2012 ballot will again include an opportunity for California voters to rein in unions’ astronomical political spending. Expect the unions to drop tens of millions of dollars to distort and defeat this single initiative.

6. Many California schools will “get Milk” for the first time in 2012. Not much has been heard of the late Harvey Milk since LGBT activists pushed a controversial bill through the Legislature a couple years ago, urging schools to celebrate his birthday on May 22. What happened? Well, said birthday has fallen on the weekend the last two years. That will change in 2012, so parents may be caught off guard.

7. The CLASS Act will prompt some very un-classy opposition. The goals of the CLASS Act are simple and embodied in its name, Children Learning Accurate Social Science. But once signature-gathering commences in late January or early February, expect LGBT activists to unleash a smear campaign the likes of which we haven’t seen since Prop. 8.