The first of two US Supreme Court hearings – the one for Prop 8 – is officially over. Pro marriage equality attorney Ten Olson tweeted:
“Based on the questions the justices asked, I have no idea.”
SDGLN has more details:
The nine justices who make up the U.S. Supreme Court grilled the lead attorney for anti-gay supporters of California’s Proposition 8, displaying skepticism about upholding the law that took away marriage rights from gay and lesbian couples. At the same time, the justices seemed united against making any ruling that would have national implications. Charles Cooper, lead attorney for ProtectMarriage.com – Yes on 8 proponents of Prop 8, was widely criticized for his legal performance at the district court and appeals court. He did not fare much better in front of the high court.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wondered whether the group Cooper represents even had legal standing to defend the law, which was declared unconstitutional in federal court and upheld on appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Denying the group legal standing is the high court’s escape clause from making any decision that would have national implications. The frequent swing voter, Justice Anthony Kennedy, seemed uncomfortable with the thought of striking down Prop 8, saying it was too soon to rule on same-sex marriage, but suggested dismissing the case and allowing the lower court ruling to stand. That would bring back same-sex marriage in California.
LGBTQ Nation has more on Justice Kennedy:
Justice Anthony Kennedy, the potentially decisive vote on a closely divided court, suggested that the court could dismiss the case with no ruling at all. Such an outcome would almost certainly allow gay marriages to resume in California but would have no impact elsewhere. Kennedy said he feared the court would go into “uncharted waters” if it embraced arguments advanced by gay marriage supporters. But lawyer Theodore Olson, representing two same-sex couples, said that the court similarly ventured into the unknown in 1967 when it struck down bans on interracial marriage in 16 states.
Now the waiting game begins. Tomorrow – the DOMA hearing.