U.S. Supreme Court

Oral arguments suggest DOMA will be overturned, SCOTUSblog's Goldstein says


A tweet by SCOTUSblog founder Tom Goldstein sums up his prediction of how the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which bans federal benefits for same-sex married couples.

“Final update,” Goldstein tweeted after oral arguments on Wednesday. “#scotus 80% likely to strike down #doma. J Kennedy suggests it violates states’ rights; 4 other Justices see as gay rights.”

The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Huffington Post have more extensive coverage of the oral arguments in United States v. Windsor. According to the Times, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy joined with the court’s four liberals to pose skeptical questions to a lawyer defending DOMA.

Also expressing skepticism, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said DOMA created a two-tier system of marriage. “There are two kinds of marriage,” she said. “Full marriage and the skim-milk marriage.”

A decision on standing could derail the case, according to the Huffington Post. The Obama administration has said it will enforce the law, but will not defend it in court. A group of House GOP leaders known as the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group hired former Solicitor General Paul Clement to defend the law. “Judging from Wednesday’s first 50 minutes of oral arguments,” the Huffington Post wrote, “the case may instead be decided on whether the justices have the power to hear the case at all.”

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Kennedy is considered tie-breaker in DOMA case; is a Roberts ruling possible?”

ABAJournal.com: Chemerinsky: Same-sex marriage battle goes before the Supreme Court

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