Archive for the 'Marriage Equality' Category
“Doomsday” for DOMA? Supreme clout for Justice Anthony Kennedy? These were just a few common themes arising from a tsunami of media and blogosphere coverage after two days of marriage case oral arguments at the Supreme Court.
It’s hard to imagine that any tea leaf remains unread, or any justice’s remark during the oral arguments uncovered. Eager readers can now fill hours and hours learning about the court, the advocates who appeared before it and the constitutional and procedural arguments they made. Because Gavel Grab can’t aggregate better than others that have already done so, why not check out the How Appealing law blog or SCOTUSblog for scores of links to articles, analysis and commentary.
The historic arguments this week involved challenges to Proposition 8, a California law barring same-sex couples from marrying, and to a part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that denies federal benefits to gay or lesbian couples who are married (see Gavel Grab).
A section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that denies federal benefits to same-sex couples who are married came under skeptical questioning from a five-person majority of the Supreme Court’s nine justices on Wednesday.
“The question is whether or not the federal government under a federalism system has the authority to regulate marriage,” said Justice Anthony Kennedy, believed to be the decisive vote on the divided court, according to the New York Times.
Justice Kennedy suggested there are “risks” that DOMA, as the federal statute is called, interferes with the traditional authority of the states to define marriage, Reuters reported.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said a two-tiered kind of marriage system exists under DOMA. There is “full marriage” for some couples under it and “skim-milk marriage” for others, she said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Early news media reports speculated heavily that if the court reaches a decision on the merits of the case, the challenged part of DOMA would be struck down, given the questions raised by Justice Kennedy and the court’s four liberal justices.
When the court heard oral arguments on Wednesday in United States v. Windsor, it was the second day of emotional and nationally watched cases involving the constitutionality of marriage for gay men and for lesbians. On Tuesday, the court heard a challenge to California’s Proposition 8, barring marriages for couples of the same sex (see Gavel Grab). Read more
A new chapter in America’s legal and social history opened when the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday over the constitutionality of marriage for gay men and for lesbians.
According to early news media reports, members of the “cautious and conflicted” court “wondered openly about whether it was time for the court to render a judgment” (Washington Post), and “several justices seemed to have developed a case of buyer’s remorse about the case before them” (New York Times).
The court heard arguments in a challenge to Proposition 8, the California law barring marriages of same-sex couples. On Wednesday, the court will hear arguments over a challenge to part of a federal law that denies federal benefits to same-sex couples who are married.
The blockbuster cases come at a time of increasing popular support for same-sex marriage, according to polling, and an intense media spotlight. They involve a topic so controversial that Iowa voters swept three state Supreme Court justices off the bench in 2010 in retaliation over a unanimous ruling that the Iowa Constitution permits marriage for same-sex couples.
The Supreme Court will hear two historic cases on Tuesday and Wednesday involving the constitutionality of marriage for gay men and for lesbians. While a broad constitutional ruling is possible, the court also could find that the cases are not legally ripe for a ruling.
As a flood of news media articles addressed the blockbuster cases, some outlets focused on an array of possible outcomes. A Washington Post article, for example, said the court has “an unusually wide range of options,” said the court may prefer “caution over boldness” and added about the high-profile role of the court:
“[T]he court’s first full examination of whether the right to marry must be extended to same-sex couples puts on full display the justices’ official responsibility as arbiter of the Constitution, as well as its unofficial role as interpreter of the nation’s readiness for social change.”
The impact of the Supreme Court on Americans’ lives is once again getting stepped-up news media attention, on the eve of oral arguments next week involving the constitutionality of marriage for gay men and for lesbians.
The cases are so compelling and historic for some spectators that they started lining up outside the high court in Washington, D.C. on Thursday night, SCOTUSblog reported; oral arguments begin on Tuesday.
A Reuters article said the justices will hear arguments “on one of the most politically charged dilemmas of the day, bound with themes of religion, sexuality and social custom,” and it noted the comparisons have been drawn to Roe v. Wade, “one of the court’s most defining cases in the past 40 years.”
When the nation’s highest court hears two historic cases next week about marriage for same-sex couples, a veteran legal journalist asks aloud: “Will the Supreme Court be guided by polls about same-sex marriage?”
Lyle Denniston poses the question at the National Constitution Center blog, after a Washington Post report of a poll showing public support for the legal marriage of same-sex couples at an all-time high, a 58-36 margin.
Denniston says the court isn’t cloistered, but its decisions won’t be guided by popular polling. In Alexander Hamilton’s time, he explains, “The concept of a truly independent judiciary proceeded–then as now–from an idealistic conception of judicial detachment from the shifting winds of politics. If a court is to have the awesome power to strike down laws passed by the people’s elected representatives, it had better not be perceived as just another politically-driven body–and polls are no more than political expressions.” Read more
The Constitution’s equal protection clause was violated when California enacted a ban on permitting gays and lesbians to marry, the Obama administration said in a brief to the Supreme Court.
The friend-of-the-court brief did not go so far as to echo an argument of lawyers representing plaintiffs in the case (see Gavel Grab) that gays and lesbians have a fundamental right to marry nationwide.
In March, the court will hear oral arguments in two historic cases about marriage for same-sex couples. One challenges Proposition 8, the California law barring marriages of same-sex couples.
In a legal brief, lawyers contesting California’s Proposition 8 asked the Supreme Court to declare that gays and lesbians have a fundamental right to marry.
Denying that right “denies gay men and lesbians their identity and their dignity; it labels their families as second-rate. That outcome cannot be squared with the principle of equality and the unalienable right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness that is the bedrock promise of America from the Declaration of Independence to the 14th Amendment and the dream of all Americans,” the lawyers said, according to a Los Angeles Times article.
In March, the court will hear oral arguments in two historic cases about marriage for same-sex couples (see Gavel Grab). One challenges the California law barring marriages of same-sex couples, and another challenges part of a federal law that denies federal benefits to same-sex couples who are married.
In the latter case, the Obama administration’s Justice Department has filed a brief asking the court to invalidate the disputed section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. According to an ABC News report, that filing may foreshadow what the Obama administration chooses to say in Proposition 8 case.
The Iowa Supreme Court has weathered a “perfect storm” of anti-judicial sentiment that began in 2010, says State Court Administrator David Boyd.
A controversial decision in 2009 concerning same-sex marriage was followed by state budget cuts that brought disruption to the court, the WCF Courier quoted Boyd as saying. In 2010, Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Associate Judges Michael Streit and David Baker were ousted in a retention election.
Gov. Terry Branstad has since appointed three new justices, but a backlog of cases developed during the turnover period. Boyd says the court is now back on track.
“I think as an organization, we’ve made great strides. I think there’s a lot less angst than there was a few years ago,” he said.
Things continued to improve in 2012 when Justice David Wiggins withstood a negative, anti-retention campaign and maintained his place on the bench. Boyd says it was due to the work of the Iowa State Bar Association and judicial advocacy organizations.
“The way I view 2010, it was kind of like the perfect storm. I think there were a lot of people – at least those that talked to me – who just didn’t think it could happen and consequently maybe didn’t turn the ballot over and vote or didn’t talk to their family and friends,” Boyd said.
The Supreme Court has set March 26 and 27 for oral arguments in two historic cases about marriage for same-sex couples.
The court had agreed in December to hear a case challenging a California law barring marriages of same-sex couples, and another challenging part of a federal law that denies federal benefits to same-sex couples who are married.
Arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry, involving California’s “Proposition 8,” will be heard March 26. Arguments in United States v. Windsor, dealing with constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, will be heard March 27, according to a CBS News report.
The cases are among several blockbusters involving issues of equality that the high court is facing in 2013, according to a recent analysis by constitutional law scholar Erwin Chemerinsky (see Gavel Grab).