SCOTUS Skeptical of DOMA, but Wary of Striking It Down

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 27 2013 12:25 PM

SCOTUS Speculation: Justices Skeptical of DOMA, but Wary of Striking It Down

Same-sex marriage supporters demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court on March 27, 2013

Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

Slate will have more coverage of today's Supreme Court hearing on DOMA in a bit, but here are the early reactions from those who watched this morning's arguments in Washington.

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

The early analysis coming from the courtroom suggests that a majority of the justices were skeptical of the Defense of Marriage Act that bans the federal recognition of gay marriage, but—not unlike yesterday—they appeared somewhat reluctant to take up the matter.


Our daily SCOTUS disclaimer: Early analysis is just that, all the more so because much of it is coming in over Twitter. Court watchers and the media often read too much into oral arguments (see: Obamacare), so we won't know anything for sure until the court issues its decision later this year.

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For those who prefer their legal analysis in chunks larger than 140 characters, the New York Times:

A majority of the justices questioned the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, as the Supreme Court on Wednesday took up the volatile issue of same-sex marriage for a second day. Justice Anthony Kennedy, widely considered the swing vote on the divided court, joined the four liberals in posing skeptical questions to a lawyer defending the law, which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman for purposes of more than 1,000 federal laws and programs.
Technical questions dominated the first part of Wednesday’s oral arguments, with a court-appointed attorney arguing that a group of Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives has no standing to defend DOMA in court.

More to come...

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