Five Best Wednesday Columns

Andrew Sullivan on the Defense of Marriage Act, Ian Crouch on the arrest of Aaron Hernandez, Jodi Jacobson on Wendy Davis's marathon filibuster, Gary Younge on the Supreme Court's Voting Rights Act decision, and Curt Anderson on the defeat of Gabriel Gomez.

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Andrew Sullivan at The Dish on the Defense of Marriage Act Reacting to the Supreme Court's ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, Andrew Sullivan — who, in a 1989 New Republic essay, reified the concept of gay marriage in American consciousness, and who today was name-checked in Justice Alito's DOMA dissent — contemplates the historical moment, focusing on Justice Anthony Kennedy's emphasis on human dignity: "My own impression of the text is to note how Catholic it is. I mean by Catholic the sense of concern for the dignity of human beings that still resonates among the average Catholic population and, mercifully, now with the new Pope. This is the true measure of our shared faith: not a desire to use its doctrines to control or constrain the lives of others, but seeking always to advance the common good while leaving no one behind. No one." (On Twitter, The Guardian's Spencer Ackerman notes: "On this day of triumph for equality, let's also acknowledge & appreciate the intellectual spadework [Andrew Sullivan] did here for 25 years.") Sullivan continues: "That humane Catholicism is embedded in paragraph after paragraph of Kennedy's text. He is talking about us, our relationships and our children as if we were human beings made in the same image of God with inalienable dignity. It will one day — perhaps even today — seem banal. And it is. But to get to that banality required a revolution."

Ian Crouch at The New Yorker on the arrest of Aaron Hernandez Ian Crouch weighs the allegations of murder leveled against Aaron Hernandez of the New England Patriots — and what that means for the professional football industry. "For fans, Hernandez’s value is mostly measured in statistics, making it difficult ... to stop thinking of him or any athlete as anything other than a component on a favorite team," Crouch writes, adding: "The game’s natural compartmentalization into precise skill sets, has only exacerbated this, shrinking all but the most famous N.F.L. players down to discrete commodities, and creating an atmosphere in which Aaron Hernandez’s legal status isn’t a question of one life ended and another in jeopardy, but just another factor in judging a tight end’s utility and availability." Ben Volin at The Boston Globe predicts a fraught future: "If [the Patriots] show him public support and it turns out that he’s involved in a murder, it makes the team look as if it is supporting a criminal. If the Patriots publicly denounce him and he is cleared of any wrongdoing, they will have demonized a potentially innocent person while possibly straining player-team relations."

Jodi Jacobson at RH Reality Check on the Wendy Davis's marathon filibuster Following the heavily-observed filibuster by Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, who spent 11 hours speaking on topic to block the passage of a state bill that would have severely limited access to legal abortion in Texas, Jodi Jacobson praises Davis's resolve: "Davis was undeterred. She did not waver. She did not 'lean,' drink water, go to the bathroom, or even touch her desk, any of which which would have disqualified her filibuster. She calmly and patiently answered question after question posed by both Republican and Democrat colleagues, passionately read through the stories and testimonies of people from throughout the state and the country, and fended off supercilious comments about women and abortion." Jacobson continues: "The most momentous vote in the Texas state legislature this year may have been taken this morning, in the first few minutes of June 26." Writing at Patheos, Mollie Z. Hemingway argues otherwise: "Gushing about an abortion filibuster, neglecting to provide important national context, and failing to ask tough questions of activists on one side isn’t exactly helping."

Gary Younge at The Guardian on the Supreme Court's Voting Rights Act decision Gary Younge weighs the implication of the Supreme Court's decision on Tuesday to invalidate Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which could go a long way to undoing the protections of Section 5. "Tuesday's Supreme Court ruling, freeing states from special federal oversight under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, marks yet another attempt by American conservatives to posit racism not only as a discreet phenomenon of the past but one which has no discernible legacy," Younge writes. He concludes: "What the Supreme Court has signalled is that after 60 years of legal support, the American judiciary is willing to draw a line under more than 350 years of racism and its legacy. Their colour-blind approach does not mean that racism will cease to exist at the polls. Only that they will cease to see it." Scott Lemieux at The American Prospect assents: "There is no question about Congress's authority to prohibit racial discrimination in voting. Legislation directed to this end does not interfere with any state "sovereignty" protected by the Constitution, and Congress should be given broad discretion to act."

Curt Anderson at Politico on the defeat of Gabriel Gomez What does last night's defeat in Massachusetts of Republican Senate candidate Gabriel Gomez say about the future of the GOP? Curt Anderson explains the dilemma affecting the party's national leaders: "While Gomez is a great candidate, a fiscal conservative, and a foreign policy expert who spent a good deal of time on the front lines in faraway places protecting his parents adopted country, he’s not a culture warrior for the right," he writes, concluding, "The next time that you are forced to hear a diatribe from the yacht club crowd about how terrible it is that we don’t have more moderate candidates, ask them what they did for Gabriel Gomez in the Massachusetts special election." Michael Graham at Boston Herald disagrees: "Gomez’s defeat was more than just a lost campaign. It was a lost opportunity to do some repair on the brand, to send out a fighter who could make the case for the GOP and against one-party Democrat rule."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.