UMass Law Professor John Rice commented on the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, in which the Court construed the statutory prohibition against workplace “discrimination on the basis of . . . sex” to protect against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. In his article posted on the Human Rights at Home Blog, Rice noted that the Court’s decision has been widely hailed as a victory for civil rights and equality, but welcomed the ruling with “cautious optimism.” Professor Rice explained that while this decision certainly affords some protection and relief to members of the LGBTQIA+ community, there is still much that can, should, and will be said about the “next issues” confronting full equality.
Rice also commended the Court’s ruling for upholding the rule of law and promoting confidence in the judiciary. Rice described the Court’s rationale as applying familiar canons of statutory interpretation, being consistent with the Court’s prior holdings, and offering an analytical framework for future cases. As Rice praised the Court’s ruling, he celebrated the Court’s sound rejection of the notion of “secret” law or the idea that a legislature’s subjective intent—or perhaps even just the subjective intent of a few legislators—could supersede the plain language of a statute.