John G. Heyburn II

A Throwback to the Future

Patience is one of the most challenging virtues. As marriage equality finds its home in state after state after various federal courts strike down exclusion laws passed amid political panic in the wake of Lawrence v. Texas, what seems a straightforward issue has observers on the edges of their seats.

Squire Patton BoggsMeanwhile, how about a throwback, just for nostalgia’s sake? You know, all of ten days.

That is to say, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear heterosupremacist appeals earlier this month, Steve Delchin, writing for the Sixth Circuit Appellate Blog maintained by the D.C. law firm Squire Patton Boggs, looked ahead to what is supposed to be a bated-breath decision coming from the Sixth Circuit sometime before winter arrives:

Some media outlets are calling today’s cert denials a surprise given the high-profile issue involved. But the denials are not really unexpected when you consider there has been little disagreement among lower courts over whether same-sex marriage bans are constitutional. Perhaps the Court is waiting for a split to emerge (as we predicted in prior posts and media comments). All eyes are therefore on the Sixth Circuit’s forthcoming decisions to see whether they will be in line with other courts or whether the Sixth Circuit will blaze a different path. We will continue to keep close watch.

(more…)

The Picture: Marriage Equality Mix

Contemplation of Justice

“The rough idea would be that the Roberts court would be to the rights of gays and lesbians what the Warren court was on race issues.”

David A. Strauss

There is a lot going on. Or maybe not. Where once the idea was that courts should stay out of things and let “democracy” pick and choose who gets what human and constitutional rights in the United States, many of those advocates are looking to the Supreme Court of the United States to cram the gays back into the closet. With Justice Ginsburg suggesting last month that the Supreme Court might get involved if the lower courts make a sufficient mess of things, and the Fifteenth Judicial District Court of Louisiana holding the line in terms of state courts, one might wonder about the fervor Robert Barnes noted last week for the Washington Post:

The 10th edition of the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. begins work Monday with the prospect of a monumental ruling for gay rights that could serve as a surprising legacy of an otherwise increasingly conservative court.

Whether the justices will decide that the Constitution protects the right of same-sex couples to marry dominates expectations of the coming term; such a ruling would impart landmark status on a docket that so far lacks a blockbuster case.

And some say it would be a defining moment for a closely divided court that bears the chief justice’s name but is most heavily influenced by the justice in the middle: Anthony M. Kennedy, who has written the court’s most important decisions affording protection to gay Americans.

“If the court establishes a right to same-sex marriage . . . [it] will go down in history as one that was on the frontiers of establishing rights for gays and lesbians,” said David A. Strauss, a constitutional-law scholar at the University of Chicago.

“The rough idea would be that the Roberts court would be to the rights of gays and lesbians what the Warren court was on race issues.”

Something about blockbusters, to be certain; one would hope we have enough worked out about our society that we should not necessarily be rushing for a marquée show every year. That is to say, there is plenty wrong with society, but do we really have so many fundamental civil rights questions coming to the fore? And if so, well, what the hell is wrong with Americans that we have not yet figured out how some of these very basic concepts work?

(more…)