Matt Coles: Is SCOTUS CA's Prop 8 Trial's Likely Outcome ?
Huffington Post journalist Matt Coles ponders if the Proposition 8 trial is likely to go to the Supreme Court
Pondering the possible outcomes of California's historic federal trial in San Francisco's high court, which many believe is precedent-setting and could change the nation; of Proposition 8, the ballot measure voted for by 7 million California voters, which made gay marriage illegal in the state - Huffington Post's Matt Coles looks to the Supreme Court. Many of his readers have wondered how likely it is that the case will reach there, win or lose.
First, Coles warns, there is no direct appeal to the Supreme Court. They can only review and vote on the case: This takes votes from no less than 4 Justices, and then 5 to win if the case is taken.
Coles believe in the plaintiffs win - big or small - the Supreme Court will likely take the case, because this would mean that anywhere from 3-9 western states would be prevented from excluding same sex couples from marriage.
This would be such an invasion of state sovereignty on such a conflicted issue, that it is unimaginable that the Supreme Court would turn the case away.
Three Critical issues to ponder
Coles believes that the Supreme Court might be unlikely to uphold gay marriage, because historically speaking, in the largest cases, the majority of states had already moved on their own in that direction.
This is clearly not the case with gay marriage. He cites Brown v Board of Education, Loving v Virginia, and Lawrence v Texas - respectively, about segregation, the illegality of inter-racial marriage, and anti-sodomy laws. In all three case, the majority of stats were against segregation, and against banning inter-racial marriage and sodomy.
Second, Coles takes a look at Roe v Wade : Here he believes that the Supreme Court did in fact act against the majority of the states: And look at the decades of angry backlash, and the regrets of some of the justices themselves.
Third, Coles speaks of particular Justices: Kennedy is an example. While he voted against the ban on sodomy, he was also said to have stated that his ruling had nothing to do with gay marriage. He also ruled that although it is a woman's right to choose in abortion, he did not believe this should be true of late term abortion. This is an example of the reservations that even a liberal Justice may have.
Then, there is the question of the YouTube ruling. Judge Vaughn Walker had ruled that the Proposition 8 trial should be video taped and broadcast on YouTube. But the Supreme Court - clearly taking the side of the proponents of Proposition 8, and their concerns regarding reprisals - ruled against it.
The coming years after the case is decided:
In closing , Coles examines the likely consequences of the Supreme Court's possible involvement with the case. He believes that in the long run, the high profile nature of the Proposition 8 trial is likely to help, and not hinder, the cause of gay rights:
But if the case is likely to put a damper on things in California, it ought to be a spur to action elsewhere. As I said above, history tells us that the more states that have marriage, the better the odds are at the Supreme Court. We’re not going to get to 30 or 35 by 2012, but it would be good if we picked up a few more. Maybe more important, the more it seems like the country is ready for marriage, and it’s just the political process that is jammed, the better our chances with the Court. So any significant progress helps, and the higher the profile the better. 2013 may seem like a long way off to the folks who brought the San Francisco marriage case and the folks who want to go back to the ballot in California. But in terms of making the kind of progress that might help us win at the Supreme Court, it’s tomorrow.