By Bill Maher
Last week, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that our existing genes can’t be patented. But synthetic genes can be, because they are “original” material. It was a good decision, even though it sets up some weird cases in the future. Like what happens when some Monsanto carrot franken-gene nudges out all the original genes out of the ecosystem, and suddenly there are no carrots in the country that don’t carry a trace of Monsanto’s “original work.” Does the company then own all carrots?
This week, the Supremes struck down a key part of Arizona’s voting law, 7-2. Arizona wanted to make voters prove their citizenship, and the Court said “nuh-uh.” Basically, their opinion was that 1993’s “Motor Voter” Act only makes sense if it’s a federal standard that helps people register, not something that other states can pile extra restrictions on to make voting harder.
Both these decisions were, in some ways “liberal,” and both were right. The really big decisions, on affirmative action and gay marriage, are coming up, and these recent cases might offer some hope. My guess is that we’ll lose affirmative action and make up for it by being able to get totally gay married if we want to. But the comforting thing is that the Court, right now, is doing what Congress isn’t -- showing an ability to operate on lines that are not necessarily rigid and political.