By Donald Scarinci | December 13th, 2012 - 10:46am
| More

Same-sex marriage joins obamacare as the two most important social issues the United States Supreme Court will consider this term.  The decision in both matters may well come down to just one person.

The first case, United States v. Windsor, considers whether the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman under federal law, violates the equal protection guarantees of the Fifth Amendment. The second case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, involves California’s Proposition 8, a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage passed in 2008.

Although Supreme Court justices are required to rule on the legal issues and evidence before them, they do not make decisions in a vacuum. Therefore, many are speculating whether the changing tide of public opinion in favor of same-sex marriage will sway the Supreme Court.

Just this November, voters in Maine, Maryland, and Washington approved laws legalizing same-sex marriage. They became the first states to approve the unions via the ballot box, rather than through a legislative amendment or court order.

The growing acceptance of same-sex marriage highlights that the American public will accept a Supreme Court decision striking down California’s same-sex marriage ban or overturning DOMA. However, voter approval could also cut the other way.

The increasing number of states legalizing same-sex marriage on their own could be used as evidence to support arguments against addressing it on the federal level. Opponents like the National Organization for Marriage are already pointing to the election results as proof that states can and should be allowed to work through the issue on their own. They also point to the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage as proof that discrimination is against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans is waning.

Nonetheless, the Supreme Court has shown a willingness to step in to protect equal rights, regardless of where the American public or the states stand on an issue. In the 1967 decision of Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court struck down bans on interracial marriage. At that point, only 16 states still prohibited marriage between blacks and whites. However, 70 percent of Americans opposed such unions.

Justice Roberts was the deciding vote in the obamacare case last term.  Will he be the person who ultimately decides the fate of same-sex marriage?   

 

Donald Scarinci is a managing partner at Lyndhurst, N.J. based law firm Scarinci Hollenbeck.  He is also the editor of the Constitutional Law Reporter and Government and Law blogs.

 

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 29th

Belmar mayor's race: a wave of post-Sandy project politics stirs up seaside Monmouth borough BELMAR - When Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty rolled out his re-election campaign in February, he did so still basking in the glow of what many residents of the 6,000-person Monmouth County seaside borough saw...

Op-Ed

White House’s Tuition Challenge Being Met in NJ

By MICHAEL W. KLEIN In his weekly radio address on August 16, President Obama challenged colleges “to do their part to bring down costs” and lighten the tuition burden on students.  The state colleges and universities in New Jersey have... Read More >

Contributors

My Republican Hillary Clinton Experience    There is a veritable plethora of reportage in print, internet, television and radio media speculating as to whether Hillary Clinton will seek the Democratic... more »
(8-27-14) All Americans Should Support Gov. Perry - Political prosecutions have no place in American life. Those who use the justice system as they are using it in Texas... more »
(Asbury Park, NJ) -- There's a word for someone who says one thing and does another: hypocrite.  There's no shortage of 'em in Trenton -- from ... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"Christie’s method for coping with scandal has been more complicated. In January, the seemingly-local issue of lane closings on the George Washington Bridge, which created a massive traffic jam in the Hudson River town of Fort Lee, became one of national interest when it was revealed that one of Christie’s closest staffers had ordered them—for what looked like political retribution against a Democratic mayor. The scandal was quickly dubbed 'Bridgegate,' and unfortunately for Christie, it played into his reputation as a bully. Christie's response was to act unlike himself: humble." - Olivia Nuzzi

- The Daily Beast

Poll

Who is a better field general for his party as both try to win governor's races around the country?:

Blogroll

Visit the PolitickerNJ.com/resources page for links to the best collection of information on New Jersey state government.

 

  • Polls
  • The best blogs
  • Columnists
  • State election results
  • Assembly election results
  • Local party websites
  • And more.

PolitickerNJ.com/resources