The Supreme Court’s rulings on gay marriage effectively leave the issue very much alive in state and national politics. The four justices appointed by Presidents Clinton and Obama clearly would declare a constitutional right to same-sex marriage in a heartbeat, if they were to get a fifth vote.
Much will be written about Chief Justice Roberts's opinion for the court in Hollingsworth v. Perry, holding that supporters of California's Proposition 8 lacked constitutional "standing" to defend in federal court California's ballot initiative against same-sex marriage. (Whether or not same-sex marriage will destroy traditional marriage someday, it's certainly destroying Twitter this morning.) But one ironic twist deserves immediate mention.
A key line from the Supreme Court's decision on the Defense of Marriage Act. "DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty."
In terms of the “optics,” it doesn’t look good when you initiate a lawsuit against “Baby Girl.” But don’t let that fool you into thinking that the Capobianco family of South Carolina, who launched the lawsuit “Adoptive Couple versus Baby Girl,” and who won today at the Supreme Court, were in the wrong. They simply wanted to get their adoptive baby back. And after a three year legal battle, they have finally won.
On August 1, the one-year “safe harbor” for religious charities objecting to provisions of Obamacare will end. Starting then, these nonprofit employers will be forced to violate their religious beliefs or pay large fines. In charge of collecting the fines will be our recently newsworthy friends at the Internal Revenue Service.
Last month, in City of Arlington, Texas v. Federal Communications Commission,the Supreme Court’s five judicial conservatives divided on a question concerning the relationship between federal courts and federal regulators. Justice Scalia wrote the decision for a majority that included Justice Thomas, and Chief Justice Roberts wrote the only dissent in the case, which was joined by Justices Alito and Kennedy.
On November 7, 2011, the Supreme Court decided to hear Magner v. Gallagher, a case about racial discrimination in housing. Oral argument was scheduled for February 29, 2012. But shortly before that, on February 10, the case was dismissed.
Yesterday the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on California’s Proposition 8, which defines marriage as being between couples of the opposite sex. Today they’re hearing them on the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union of one man and one woman at the federal level. Like Roe v. Wade, the high court’s decision on these cases is likely to fuel the culture war for a generation or two, at least. Unlike with Roe, the Court seems to understand that it’s been handed an issue of enormous consequence.