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Transcript and Audio of Prop 8/DOMA Marriage Equality Arguments

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Slade Sohmer

By Slade Sohmer on March 26, 2013

UPDATE: Scroll down for analysis, transcript and audio …

The watershed moment for marriage rights in this country will be argued in front of the United States Supreme Court on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The high court will take its first real-deal look at the issue of marriage equality in America, having granted a review of California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage, and DOMA, the federal law signed by president Bill Clinton that legally defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

pic via @JustinMikita

To get a better grasp on what went down inside the court, we reached out to a lawyer and adjunct law professor who is one of the sharpest legal minds under 40 we know (who had this to say about Roberts/ObamaCare):

There’s literally zero chance that Anthony Kennedy will sign on to a decision reversing the 9th Circuit and upholding Proposition 8. So the question is whether they dodge this case (on standing grounds or otherwise) or actually dive into it.

Tomorrow will be more telling. I expect you’ll here both Kennedy and Roberts be very skeptical of DOMA, maybe even Alito too. If that’s so, I could see a very strong opinion (written by Kennedy) striking down DOMA, and a dodge on Hollingsworth v. Perry. That’ll buy the court 2 or 3 years before proponents of SSM are before it again…when they will argue that any denial of marriage rights to them will violate equal protection. They will cite the DOMA case in support and they will win.

Another brilliant legal mind weighs in for us:

Unless Kennedy is really feeling his oats, in which case he’ll go whole hog, heightened scrutiny and whatnot. And then everyone will be feeling too giddy, so they’ll start to say it was a needless overreach like Roe v. Wade, and then everyone will agree that’s a dumb argument and move on.


Hollingsworth v. Perry, LISTEN HERE

• United States v. Windsor, LISTEN HERE

• You can also read Tuesday’s transcript here.

• You can also read Wednesday’s transcript here.


If the Justices, in the initial vote they will take on this case in private later this week, do not find themselves with a majority on any of the issues they canvassed, then they might well be looking for a way out. One way would be to find that the proponents of Proposition 8 did not have a legal right to be in court to defend it, but even that was a hotly disputed issue on the bench. The other way out was directly suggested by Kennedy, and pursued by him in more than a fleeting way: dismiss this case as one that should not have been accepted. A decision like that, though, could take weeks or months to reach.

Should that be the outcome, it would be a huge let-down for political, legal and cultural warriors on both sides of the gay marriage issue, but would have the effect of leaving the issue to be worked out in state legislative halls and at the ballot box, one state at a time, at least for the time being. The case argued Tuesday — Hollingsworth v. Perry (12-144) — was only the first of two, but it is the one that had the most potential for getting to the question of who may marry.



Will Chief Justice John Roberts be swayed by this awesome 12-year-old?

Prop 8 oral arguments should begin at 10 am on Tuesday and wrap up by around 11, and the transcript should be released by 1 pm. DOMA oral arguments will then come at 10 am on Wednesday and wrap up around noon, with transcript and audio coming around 2 pm.

pic via @DJMattyStopes

Supreme Court Gay Marriage
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Required reading:
• Q&A: How historic gay-marriage case will unfold [SCOTUSblog] • BuzzFeed LGBT reporter Chris Geidner’s piece on what to expect
• Find SCOTUSblog’s Lyle Denniston’s thoughts on the briefs here
• NYMag: The Basics on Prop 8, DOMA, and What to Look For

pic via @ThinkProgress

pic via @BYGays

pic via @MKLavers81

More from outside the Supreme Court today:

If You Hate Chick-fil-A’s Anti-Equality Stance, You’ll Love Starbucks
12-Year-Old Asks Rhode Island to ‘Choose Love’ & Marriage Equality

pic via @ChuckWestover

GOP commentator Margaret Hoover makes conservative case for equality:

pic via @HRC

Prop 8 plaintiffs arrive:

pic via @CKefalas

pic via @learyreports

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