The Prop 8 Oral Arguments Before the Supreme Court

Picture-1A momentous morning in the Supreme Court. All the work, analysis, speculation, briefing and lobbying culminated in an oral argument in Hollingsworth v. Perry lasting nearly an hour and a half – half an hour over the scheduled time. There are a lot of reports and opinions floating around about what transpired.

Here is Tom Goldstein

Here is Reuters led by Lawrence Hurley and David Ingram

Here is Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSBlog

Here is USA Today

Here is Huffington Post’s Mike Sacks with a video report

Here is Ryan Reilly and Mike Sacks with a written report at HuffPost

Suffice it to say, we do not know a heck of a lot after oral arguments than we did right before them. The full range of decision is on the table. However, there were certainly some hints given. Scalia and Alito are very hostile, and Thomas is almost certainly with them in that regard although he once again stood mute. Ginsburg, Kagan and Sotomayor seemed receptive to the Ted Olson’s arguments. Breyer oddly quiet and hard to read. As is so often the case, that left Anthony Kennedy in effective control of the balance.

If Kennedy’s tenor at argument is any guide, and it isn’t necessarily, he is unlikely to sign on to a broad ruling. In fact he may be struggling with standing, but that is very hard to read. Several commenters I have seen interpreted Kennedy’s questions as having a real problem with standing and signaling a possibility of punting the case on that basis. From what I have read so far, I wouldn’t say that…and neither does Adam Serwer, who was present at argument.

So, in short, I would summarize thusly: Standing is a bigger issue than I had hoped, and there is more resistance to a broad ruling than I had hoped. But the game is still on. Remember when Jeff Toobin’s train wreck/plane wreck take after the ACA oral arguments; you just don’t know and cannot tell.

I will likely be back later after analysis of the pertinent material. For now, let me leave you with that material and media so you too can hear and see the groundbreaking day in the Supreme Court:

Here is the full transcript of the oral arguments

Here is the audio of the proceedings

Enjoy, and I look forward to discussing this! And, again, there will be updates to this post throughout the day, so keep checking for them.

[As always on these Prop 8 posts, the absolutely incredible graphic, perfect for the significance and emotion of the Perry Prop 8 case, and the decision to grant marriage equality to all citizens without bias or discrimination, is by Mirko Ilić. Please visit Mirko and check out his stock of work.]

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27 Responses to The Prop 8 Oral Arguments Before the Supreme Court

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @WerlySportsLaw Absolutely agree. Though want it by natural pressure, not federal govt insertion into the issue in face of 1st Amendment
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JimWhiteGNV RT @VanessaBeeley: Rinse and repeat: 82 new US-trained Syrians prepare for fighting — RT Op-Edge https://t.co/bLREm1zfv4 @snarwani @navsteva
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bmaz @Prof_Holland @TAMULawSchool Yes, now send them to represent some indigent defendants, whether at trial or appellate level...or both!
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bmaz @WerlySportsLaw So, change the name and waive RGIII? Frankly, think Snyder too bullheaded and stupid to do either one.
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bmaz This is most common when county attys overcharge+overreach with sex crime defendants b/c they can. Usually cravenly works, sometimes not.
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bmaz @WALLACHLEGAL Agreed! All good anyway, and many would not know Clune's longer history (I may be getting old...).
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bmaz The Labrie/NH sex asslttrial produced a weird but not uncommon inconsistent verdict. Will be interesting to see how state ct judge sentences
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bmaz @WALLACHLEGAL And really, I have long known him from that and §1983 cases. It was a smaller group of us who did that at one time.
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bmaz @WALLACHLEGAL Hey, where did that other tweet go?!?! Anyway, just carping b/c Clune has done some great crim defense trial work
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bmaz @WALLACHLEGAL @RachelAxon Jeez, went through this yesterday - Clune far more than a Title IX+Winston accuser atty. Long time great litigator
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bmaz Texas, boy I don't know https://t.co/hqmv8s6XTk
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emptywheel @TimothyS Whatever the answer is it must be something extraordinary bc terrorterrorterror even if it makes more terrorterrorterror.
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