Monday, November 12, 2012

What did SCOTUS hear?

Did the election make a difference to the SCOTUS? The opponents of marriage equality are arguing that the fact that 3 states approved marriage equality at the ballot box shows that gays are not "politically powerless" and therefore don't deserve protection. (NB: MN only decided not to forbid it in the COnstitution; same sex marriage is illegal there already). The fact that 30-odd states have found otherwise would argue against that interpretation. This article in the Washington Post considers how the Court will wade in.
Supporters of same-sex marriage say the votes — along with polls showing acceptance of gay marriage high among younger Americans — point to inevitable momentum, but not so much that the court should leave the question of equal rights to the political process. “At the end of the day, it’s the reason we have the judiciary — to protect the rights of the minority,” Griffin said.
In any event, there is basically no chance they will find that there is a federal right to marry. The hope is that they don't overturn the Prop8 case, and just let it apply to CA, perhaps by denying cert (that is, refusing to hear it).
But the court is almost obligated to take one or more of the DOMA cases. As the state of play now stands, it would be unconstitutional to withhold federal recognition — there are more than 1,100 references to marriage in federal laws, codes and regulations — to same-sex couples married in the Northeast states covered by the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 1st and 2nd circuits. But the decisions don’t apply to those married in Iowa, the District of Columbia or those states that Tuesday approved gay marriage. 
About 15 percent of Americans now live in states that allow gay marriage, and the number would double if the right were reinstated in California.
The Post article also says that the Supreme Court's conference on whether or not to hear the Prop8 or DOMA cases has been postponed to Nov. 30. I haven't seen confirmation of that.

Update:  AFER confirms that the conference is indeed rescheduled to Nov 30th.  We may hear something about it on 3rd Dec.

1 comment:

JCF said...

Isn't that convenient? If the electorate votes *against* LGBTs, then "community standards" should be respected by the courts (or else they'll be tarred as "judicial activists"!).

If the electorate votes *in favor* of LGBTs, then that shows we are "not 'politically powerless' and therefore don't deserve protection."

A/K/A, Heads, f@gs lose; Tails, heterosexist bigots win. ENOUGH!!!