OVERVIEW: Supreme Court DOMA Oral Arguments Over

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Many experts seem to think the court will rule in favor of abolishing DOMA.

The oral arguments before the Supreme Court for the federal DOMA case have concluded, and according to Newser many seem to think “things are looking bad for the 1996 law.” The SCOTUSblog predicted in a tweet that there is an 80% chance the court will strike down the federal law.

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Here is an overview of what the debate looked like today,

The key vote, Anthony Kennedy, seems concerned that the law violated states’ rights, according to SCOTUSblog. “The question is whether the federal government, under a federalism system, has the authority to regulate marriage,” he said, according to the New York Times.

The court’s liberal justices, meanwhile, approached the case from a gay rights perspective. The system, Ruth Bader Ginsberg complained, creates “two kinds of marriage: Full marriage, and the skim-milk marriage.”

Much time was spent discussing the Obama administration’s decision not to defend the law, Reuters reports. Kennedy found the decision “very troubling,” while Scalia said we were in a “new world” and “totally unprecedented.”

CNN legal analysts have said that if the court wants to punt on the issue, it could declare that House Republicans did not have the standing to defend the law in the first place. But Stephen Breyer pointed out a 1983 case in which the House was at odds with INS.

John Roberts expressed irritation that the Obama administration would continue to enforce the law, but not defend it. “I don’t see why he doesn’t have the courage of his convictions,” he said. He also asked a government lawyer how the Justice Department would decide which laws to defend in the future. “What is your test?”

Hear the audio from the debate and read the full transcript here.

Photo: Nathan Laurell/Flickr

About Kathryn DeHoyos

Kathryn DeHoyos currently resides on the outskirts of Austin, TX. She has 2 beautiful children, and is very happily un-married to her life partner DJ.

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