Wednesday, June 26, 2013

2 Supreme Court decisions released today

The decision of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in United States v. Windsor strikes down the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). DOMA applied to the federal government and prohibited it from recognizing same-sex marriages -- even in states that had legalized it. 

The decision in Hollingsworth et al. v. Perry et al. has the effect of killing California's Proposition 8, which had amended the California State Constitution to define marriage as a union only between a man and a woman. The state officials would not defend this initiative/amendment in court, so the original petitioners chose to do so. The SCOTUS ruled that these petitioners did not have the legal standing to defend Prop 8's constitutionality. Therefore, the former ruling that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional stands without the SCOTUS actually ruling on that matter directly.


R. L. Vaughn said...

Justice quotes:

"We might have covered ourselves with honor today, by promising all sides of this debate that it was theirs to settle and that we would respect their resolution. We might have let the People decide....But the Court has cheated both sides, robbing the winners of an honest victory, and the losers of the peace that comes from a fair defeat. We owed both of them better." -- Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, dissenting from SCOTUS majority opinion on the Defense of Marriage Act

"I turn first to the question of standing. In my view, United States clearly is not a proper petitioner in this case. The United States does not ask us to overturn the judgment of the court below or to alter that judgment in any way. Quite to the contrary, the United States argues emphatically in favor of the correctness of that judgment. We have never before reviewed a decision at the sole behest of a party that took such a position, and to do so
would be to render an advisory opinion, in violation of Article III’s dictates." -- Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, dissenting from SCOTUS majority opinion on the Defense of Marriage Act

Alito also pointed out the remarkable irony that the United States, who did not ask to overturn or alter the ruling of the lower court, had legal standing in the DOMA case but that the intervenors regarding Prop 8, who represent the party that lost in their lower court, did not.

R. L. Vaughn said...

What some others are writing/saying:

How Should Same-Sex Marriage Change the Church’s Witness?
Supreme Court strikes down DOMA; rules it interferes with states, ‘dignity’ of same-sex marriages
'High-Handed' Kennedy Has Declared Us 'Enemies of the Human Race'
“Waiting for the Other Shoe” — The Supreme Court Rules on Same-Sex Marriage
The Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling was appropriate, or Regrettable overreach
Former Congressman Bob Barr comments on DOMA Ruling by Supreme Court
Enemies of the Human Race