Same-Sex marriage: Decision-makers at a glance

Supreme Court Justices (KSN File Photo)
Gay Marriage: The Decision-Makers. The U.S. Supreme Court will decide if states can ban same-sex marriages. The decision is expected in late June. Here’s what we know about the decision-makers after the oral arguments.

SWING VOTES

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.

  • Dissented in United States v. Windsor (2013), which struck down a section of the Defense of Marriage Act
  • Wrote majority opinion dismissing Hollingsworth v. Perry, which allowed a lower court ruling to stand that struck down a same-sex marriage ban
  • Has a solid conservative record, according to CNN. Nominated by Pres. George W. Bush
  • He’s upset conservatives before, by voting to uphold the Affordable Care Act.

During the oral arguments on gay marriage, Chief Justice John Roberts directed questions to both sides that made it hard to predict where he will come down. Roberts said gay couples seeking to marry aren’t trying to join the institution of marriage — they’re trying to “change what the institution is.”

But he also said, “If Sue loves Joe and Tom loves Joe, Sue can marry him and Tom can’t.” And he asked, “Why isn’t that a case of sexual discrimination?”

Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy

  • The New York Times says Kennedy has written three previous opinions affirming gay rights.
  • Wrote the dissenting opinion in Hollingsworth v. Perry (2013), which was dismissed by SCOTUS, paving the way for same-sex marriage in California
  • Wrote the majority opinion striking down a section of the Defense of Marriage Act in United States v. Windsor (2013)
  • Nominated to the bench by Republican President Ronald Reagan

During the oral arguments on gay marriage, Justice Anthony Kennedy seemed to share the concern of the court’s conservative justices when he said marriage has been understood as one man and one woman for “millennia-plus time.” And he said that it’s difficult for the court to say, “We know better.”

But he also asked an attorney representing the states that ban same-sex marriage to explain how granting gay couples a right to marry would harm traditional marriages.

EXPECTED TO VOTE FOR SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer

  • Joined the majority ruling striking down a section of the Defense of Marriage Act in the 2013 United States v. Windsor case
  • Sided with majority in Hollingsworth v. Perry (2013), declaring the supporters of California’s same-sex marriage ban had no legal standing
  • Nominated by Democratic President Bill Clinton

Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

  • Joined the majority opinion in United States v. Windsor (2013), striking down a section of the Defense of Marriage Act.
  • Sided with majority in Hollingsworth v. Perry (2013), declaring the supporters of California’s same-sex marriage ban had no legal standing
  • Last year, she marveled at the ‘remarkable’ shift in public opinion in support of gay marriage. “Having people close to us who say they are– that made the attitude change in this country,” Ginsburg said in an Associated Press report.
  • Nominated to bench by Democratic President Bill Clinton

Associate Justice Elena Kagan

  • Officiated a same-sex wedding for her former law clerk in Maryland
  • Joined the majority opinion in the 5-4 decision striking down a section of the Defense of Marriage Act in the 2013 United States v. Windsor case
  • Sided with majority in Hollingsworth v. Perry (2013), declaring the supporters of California’s same-sex marriage ban had no legal standing
  • Nominated to the bench by Democratic President Barack Obama

Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor

  • Sided with the majority of justices in the 5-4 decision striking down a section of the Defense of Marriage Act in the 2013 United States v. Windsor case
  • Among dissenting justices in Hollingsworth v. Perry (2013), which overturned California’s same-sex marriage ban
  • Nominated to the bench by Democratic President Barack Obama

EXPECTED TO VOTE AGAINST SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

Associate Justice Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr.

  • Among dissenting justices in Hollingsworth v. Perry (2013), which overturned California’s same sex marriage ban.
  • The New York Times says he is among the more “right-leaning” justices.
  • In United States v. Windsor (2013), he argued elected officials should decide on gay marriage, not the courts, according to Time.com
  • Nominated to the bench by Republican President George W. Bush

Associate Justice Antonin Scalia

  • Among the more “right-leaning” justices, according to The New York Times
  • Dissented in United States v. Windsor (2013): “We have no power to decide this case,” he wrote in his opinion, according to Time.com.
  • Joined majority vote in Hollingsworth v. Perry (2013), which declared the supporters of California’s same-sex marriage ban had no legal standing
  • Nominated to bench by Republican President Ronald Reagan

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas

  • Among the more “right-leaning” justices, according to The New York Times
  • Joined Justice Scalia on all of his key opinions
  • Among the dissenting justices in United States v. Windsor (2013), which struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act
  • Among dissenting justices in Hollingsworth v. Perry (2013), which overturned California’s same-sex marriage ban

Comments are closed.