Just saw via Zack Ford on Twitter that the 6th Circuit has ruled against marriage equality in a 2-1 decision. This creates a circuit split that will effectively force the Supreme Court to take up the issue in its next session.
The 6th Circuit is binding in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Frankly, the decision will rest in the hands of Kennedy with the four conservative Justices voting against equality and the four liberal Justices voting for equality. While nothing is certain with this court, Ed Brayton has convinced me that the good guys have Kennedy:
The language of his ruling in Windsor made a strong and explicit case that laws banning same-sex marriage are a violation of equal protection even if you don’t apply strict scrutiny, but he applied it only to the federal government with a federalism safety valve. I think it’s clear that he would like to go all the way on this but wanted to give the states and lower courts time to proceed on repealing and striking them down. So is he ready to do that after less than 2 years? If he is, those laws are gone. If he’s not, he’ll find another way to delay the inevitable.
If Kennedy’s goal was to let the states catch up, that’s already happened, and it’s continuing to happen. All these consecutive legal victories striking down gay marriage bans? Many of them were drawn directly from Kennedy’s opinion in Windsor. For us to lose he would have to pull a full 180, which isn’t impossible, but not likely. Kennedy has an unblemished record of voting in favor of gay rights, even if he hasn’t always been for extending those ruling to their furthest breadth. He’s never voted against gay rights, and that streak is likely to continue. As Brayton says, this is Kennedy’s legacy. It’s Kennedy’s Loving v. Virginia and he knows it.
But the stage is set. It’s possible that by next June we’ll know whether or not Christianity trumps equality in the United States.
Damn, Justice Martha Craig Daughtrey didn’t waste any time getting into her dissent. Here’s the first paragraph:
Good on her.
Holy shit. Daughtrey was not fucking around. In the end of her dissent she pretty much accuses her colleagues of abandoning their oaths:
More than 20 years ago, when I took my oath of office to serve as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, I solemnly swore to “administer justice without respect to persons,” to “do equal right to the poor and to the rich,” and to “faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me . . . under the Constitution and laws of the United States.” See 28 U.S.C. § 453. If we in the judiciary do not have authority, and indeed the responsibility, to right fundamental wrongs left excused by a majority of the electorate, our whole intricate, constitutional system of checks and balances, as well as the oaths to which we swore, prove to be nothing but shams.
Ok, real talk: I straight up love this woman.