Skip to comments.SCOTUS: Oral Arguments on Same-sex marriage today [Live Thread] (Audio available by 2:00 ET)
Posted on 03/26/2013 10:05:42 AM PDT by BuckeyeTexan
Today the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for about 80 minutes in Hollingsworth v. Perry, which is the lawsuit regarding California's Proposition 8. Two gay couples brought suit on the grounds that the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment prohibits the State of California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
Since the State of California refuses to defend Proposition 8, opponents of gay marriage sought to enforce it in Hollingsworth v. Perry. Generally, citizens do not have legal standing to enforce laws with which they agree. Several justices expressed doubt that gay marriage opponents have standing in this case.
"I don't think we've ever allowed anything like that," said Chief Justice John Roberts.
"I just wonder if this case was properly granted," said Justice Anthony M. Kennedy
"Why is taking a case now the answer?" asked Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Addressing the merits of the case, Justice Anthony Kennedy focused on the "imminent injury" to children in California.
"Theres some 40,000 children in California that live with same-sex parents. They want their parents to have full recognition and full status. The voice of those children is important."
Justices Alito and Kennedy raised the possibility that the court is moving too fast to address whether or not same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.
"We have five years of information to pose against 2,000 years of history or more," said Justice Anthony Kennedy.
"You want us to step in and assess the effects of this institution, which is newer than cellphones and/or the Internet?" asked Justice Samuel A. Alito.
On the subject of how same-sex marriage harms traditional marriage, Justice Elena Kagan asked, "How does this cause and effect work?"
On the subject of procreation being the state's key interest in the insitution of marriage, Justice Stephen G. Breyer said, "There are lots of people who get married who cant have children."
Standing is an element of subject-matter jurisdiction (if the plaintiff or appellant lacks standing, there is no "case or controversy" and the case cannot be heard in federal court). So, even if the parties do not raise the issue, SCOTUS will always decide for itself if there is standing at the SCOTUS level, and can review the lower courts' decisions as to standing.
If SCOTUS decides that the appellants lack standing, it can either dismiss the appeal (which will leave the 9th Circuit's decision in place in California, but without any precedential impact on other states), or it can decide that there never was standing even in the lower courts (which will wipe out the lower court decisions). Either way, the Court would avoid a ruling on the merits of gay marriage. That seems to be what Kennedy wants to do: he does not want to be the 5th vote to decide the constitutionality of gay marriage either way. My guess is that he is personally in favor of gay marriage but he would prefer to have it enacted by voters and legislatures rather than imposed by the courts.
Kennedy has suggested NOT ruling at all at this time.
Normally, if there is no majority opinion from SCOTUS AFTER VOTING, the PREVIOUS 9th Circuit ruling applies, in which case, Prop 8 would be overturned and gay marriage would be legal [for CA only].
My question is whether the 9th Circuit’s ruling would stay in place [overturning Prop 8] OR because SCOTUS failed to rule, would the 9th Circuit’s ruling be vacated and the CA Supreme Court’s ruling apply?
In this scenario, SCOTUS DOES NOT rule either FOR or AGAINST - and in fact, DOES NOT RULE AT ALL, so, in THIS case, does the 9th Circuit’s ruling stand? Can a lower court’s constitutional ruling stand even IF SCOTUS has decided NOT TO RULE AT ALL after it has heard the case?
FYI: The CA Supreme Court ruled Prop 8 constitutional, but allowed previous gay marriages to remain in place ...
Because we have the most LEFTIST-ACTIVIST SCOTUS of all time. At least half of them are political operatives for 0bama. The complete lack of liberals’ ability to place the dictates of our Constitution above that of their own personal wishes is perhaps the gravest threat the judicial branch poses to our Republic.
Thank you. That explains the standing issue in this case much better for me.
Breyer seems to think that the petitioners do not have standing in federal courts but do in state courts.
He said that 40 states have what is called a public action where any citizen can bring action to “vindicate the interest in seeing the law enforced.” He then went on to say that historically the court has ruled that such cases do not belong in the federal system.
So if the court ruled that the petioners do not have standing in any federal court, that would overturn the 9th Circuit and uphold the CA Supreme Court, correct?
See Lurking Libertarian’s explanation immediately above your post.
SCOTUS can determine that the petitioner (opponents of gay marriage in this case) have no standing before SCOTUS or have no standing in any federal court, including the 9th Circuit.
I am waiting on his reply to whether or not SCOTUS can decide that the petitioner did not have standing before the CA Supreme Court.
Your time in answering questions is very much appreciated, as usual, FRiend. :)
(Please don’t bill me. Heh.)
Sounds like the SCOTUS is finding an ‘out’ to avoid ruling on this matter. Cowards.
Because some loony people think Roberts is gay. No wonder people make fun of conservatives. We try to do a “is he gay” witch hunt.
See posts 42 & 43, 45 & 46 regarding possible outcomes with respect to standing.
No. That is exactly what I want. This is a states’ right issue. If they punt on standing, that allows both sides another bite at the apple - of the culture war - in the rest of the 50 states. That was the purpose of the 10th Amendment.
Hopefully, they will rule that the petitioners do not have standing in any federal court and that the CA Supreme Court has the right to grant standing in its own jurisdiction. (I think. IANAL.)
Yes. It would vacate the 9th Circuit decision and the federal district court's ruling, and would leave the California Supreme Court's ruling (which upheld Prop. 8, albeit only prospectively) in place.
ScotusBlog basically says looks like this will not be ruled on at all most likely.
They said if they decide there is no standing, the 9th Circuit ruling would be vacated.
LL says SCOTUS can deny standing to the petitioners two ways: only before SCOTUS or before any federal court.
The former would leave in place the 9th Circuit ruling overtuning Prop. 8 and allowing gay marriage in CA.
The latter would overturn all federal court rulings (including the 9th Curcuit and the federal distric court) and leave in place the CA Supreme Court ruling that upheld Prop. 8 as constitutional.
See my post at 54.
We’re doomed to lose this because the judges are legislating from the bench. We should have passed a marriage amendment years back.
I originally believed they would rule in favor of gay marriage. Today’s discussion at SCOTUS on the question of standing gives me pause. I think, in this particular case, the court is looking for a way to leave this issue for The People to hash out themselves.
Justice Ginsburg, in particular, has questioned the handling of Roe v. Wade by the Court. Many experts believe that abortion laws were already changing in the states and that SCOTUS shortcut the democratic process by which laws should be passed.
Were doomed to lose this because the judges are legislating from the bench. We should have passed a marriage amendment years back.
Disagree. We’re doomed to lose this because few are pushing back to all the homo pop culture propaganda. The fags don’t even need activist judges anymore with the beltway GOP lying down for them. They will just put their own initiative on the ballot or get their own law written.
Thank you for your modifications.
I believe Prop 8 defined marriage as a man and a women, then the 9th circus court threw it out. Prop 8 was voted on by the citizens of California.
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