Friday, December 07, 2012
Buckle my knees and pass the smelling salts. I was prepared for the SCOTUS to pass on the 10 marriage-equality cases petitioned. Instead, it picked two for arguments, two that cover nearly all key aspects of same-sex marriage and benefits.
The just-the-facts-ma'am version is in the WaPo. Detail is in the initial report from the NYT. Analysis of the menu of cases before the court was in the Advocate in September.
The short of it is first is the CA Prop 8 case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, argued by Olson and Boies. This surprised me because it deals with the state-level override ballot that overturned the legislature's legalization of same-sex marriage. The SCOTUS could have chickened out on this, saying it was a state issue. Instead, they'll likely consider whether marriage is a fundamental right subject to equal treatment under law — big stuff.
The other could overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, Bill Clinton's biggest mistake as Prez, worse than cigar fantasies and the blue dress. In the United States v. Windsor, the survivor of a pair of women married in Canada sued when DOMA, Section 3 prevented her from inheriting her wife's estate.
This is pure discrimination by gender and orientation. Justice Kagan worked on a related case as solicitor general and likely would recuse herself.
These cases are likely to warm up a lot of people's winters in anticipation.
Arguments in the spring should bring decisions in June.