Supreme Court Takes on Prop. 8, DOMA
More than four years after California voters approved Proposition 8, the state’s ban on same-sex marriage received a full hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s been a long and winding road to the high court – a road paved with joy, anger, euphoria and fear.
KQED and the California Report are providing full coverage of the Proposition 8 and DOMA hearings.
by Rachael Marcus, Kelly Dunleavy O'Mara and Jon Brooks We are fast nearing a U.S. Supreme Court decision on Proposition 8, California's same-sex marriage ban. The court does not announce in advance which opinions it will release on which days, … Continue reading
Update: SCOTUSblog tells us five opinions were released, none related to the same-sex marriage cases. Decisions on major cases on affirmative action and voting rights were also not issued. The court did strike down an Arizona law requiring proof of … Continue reading
Nearly five years after voters passed Proposition 8, the U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide the fate of California's ban on same-sex marriage. But will that be the final word? When two same-sex couples filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality … Continue reading
Update Jun 17: And the wait continues… Update: Per SCOTUSblog, four opinions are in, none of them one of the same-sex marriage cases. That's it for today — the court has recessed until Monday, when we'll be back here again … Continue reading
Ever since he struck down Proposition 8 in 2010, former federal judge Vaughn Walker has maintained a certain distance from the case. That’s probably wise, given that the Supreme Court has yet to make a final determination on his ruling. … Continue reading
Update Thursday Jun 13: We're again monitoring the possibility today that the court will issue its rulings on Prop 8 and/or DOMA. See that post here. Update: Per SCOTUSblog, three opinions have been issued, none of which are Hollingsworth v. … Continue reading
For almost two hours Supreme Court justices heard arguments on the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The court covered wide ground, once again spending a significant amount of time on the topic of standing. This time the questions were around whether the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), under the leadership of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, had the legal right to sue. As in Proposition 8, the standing question could give the court the option to avoid the case by ruling that it should not have gone through the court system.
The justices also spent time on whether the federal government should be in the marriage business at all, or if that should be left to the states. Several justices also challenged President Barack Obama's 2011 decision to stop upholding DOMA, and what kinds of precedent that sets. Solicitor General Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. often tried to bring up the equal protection clause, and whether it applies to gays and lesbians. However, the court often took that question and went back to federal versus states legal rights.
UC Davis Law Professor Vikram Amar discussed the oral arguments with KQED News.
Amar: If one is going to read tea leaves based on the oral argument, it seems as if the court is not inclined to do something huge, in striking down the laws of 40 states that currently prohibit same-sex marriage. My big take-away from this has always been, the court did not really want to take these cases. … They may end up doing nothing at all, because both cases may get resolved on procedural standing grounds.
The basic idea is courts exist to decide crisp disputes, not just answer questions everyone wants answered. So unless you have somebody who is a plaintiff who has a lot at stake, and you have a defendant who is an appropriate defendant, then the court simply should not be able to render a ruling.
On Wednesday morning the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.
Listen to the hearing:
Read the transcript:
Read all the of the case filings in the Proposition 8 and DOMA cases.
After a long and winding road, Proposition 8 had its day at the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday. For more than an hour, the justices of the high court grilled attorneys on California's same-sex marriage ban.
The oral arguments were dominated by the question of standing, which focused on whether the authors of Prop. 8 have the legal right to defend the measure in court when the state refused to do so. Justices also grappled over the meaning of marriage and what role the court system should have in changing long-held traditions.
The questions that justices ask can shed light on their concerns and how they might rule. KQED spoke with Vikram Amar, a professor of law at UC Davis, about what certain arguments could mean.
Amar: I thought there were three, maybe four, maybe five justices already who expressed significant skepticism about whether the sponsors have standing to defend Prop. 8.