NYU Law professors react to Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court handed down two 5-4 decisions on same-sex marriage in the cases Hollingsworth v. Perry, which challenged California’s ban on same-sex marriage (Proposition 8), and U.S. v. Windsor, which challenged the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In Perry, the Court ruled that the proponents of Proposition 8 did not have standing to appeal the district court’s order invalidating the ban. InWindsor, the Court declared a key section of DOMA unconstitutional.

After the Court released the ruling on Hollingsworth v. Perry, David Boies (LL.M. ’67), one of the litigators in the case, spoke to reporters outside the Supreme Court. “Today, the United States Supreme Court, in two important decisions, brings us that much closer to true equality,” Boies said. “In the California case, the Supreme Court held that the proponents of Proposition 8 did not have standing. What that means is that in that case, the Supreme Court could not reach the merits. But everything that the Supreme Court said in the Defense of Marriage opinion… demonstrates that when that case finally does come to the United States Supreme Court on the merits, marriage equality will be the law throughout this land.”

On Wednesday evening, Kenji Yoshino, Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law, joined MSNBC’s Joy Reid and former Congressman Barney Frank on MSNBC’s All in with Chris Hayes to talk about the rulings on DOMA and Proposition 8, as well as the Supreme Court’s Tuesday decision on the Voting Rights Act.

Elsewhere, Richard Epstein, Lawrence A. Tisch Professor of Law, discussed Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion. “He was spoiling for a fight, or so it appears,” Epstein told Bloomberg Businessweek, adding that based on what Kennedy wrote about equal protection in the DOMA case, “it is doubtful that he could resist an equal protection challenge to state statutes.” In addition to speaking with Bloomberg Businessweek, Epstein also recorded a podcast discussing the two cases with Ricochet senior editor Troy Senik.

NYU Law professors are also commenting about the case on Twitter. Yoshino wrote, following the release of the decisions, “SCOTUS sent a powerful signal today that in a properly presented case, a state marriage ban would also fall, as DOMA did today.” University Professor Jeremy Waldron highlighted a line from the DOMA decision focusing on dignity: “Responsibilities, as well as rights, enhance the dignity and integrity of the person.”

For more on this and other issues, follow: @JeremyJWaldron@Kenji_Yoshino, and @RichardAEpstein.

Posted on June 27, 2013