{{show_title_date || "Justices aware of shift in national attitudes on same-sex marriage, 3/26/13, 1:31 PM ET"}}

‘The Supreme Court is not a legislature,’ Prop 8 defendant says


The co-counsel for the legal team defending California’s Proposition 8 before the Supreme Court Tuesday, Austin Nimocks, called for the court to “let the American people deal with [the issue of gay marriage] through their democratic institutions.”

“We don’t need a 50-state mandate on same-sex marriage in the country,” Nimocks said on Andrea Mitchell Reports following Tuesday’s oral arguments.

“The political process is working,” Nimocks argued. Fifty-two percent of the California electorate voted in favor of the 2008 ballot initiative defining marriage as a one-man, one-woman union, known as Proposition 8, during an election with otherwise liberal ramifications, including the election of President Barack Obama.

“The polls that matter, the ones that really matter are the ones that happen on Election Day,” Nimock said. “And Californians have gone to the polls twice to vote on marriage in a nine-year period, [and] those polls deserve respect. And that’s what we’re asking the Supreme Court to do, is respect the opinions of Californians and uphold marriage.”

During Tuesday’s oral arguments, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito acknowledged the newness of gay marriages, legal in some stats, and the rapidly-changing public opinion.

“You want us to step in and render a decision based on an assessment of the effects of this institution, which is newer than cell phones or the Internet? I mean, we are not–we do not have the ability to see the future,” Alito said.

“It wasn’t just an observation from Justice Alito,” Nimock responded on Andrea Mitchell Reports. “Multiple justices asked questions along similar lines. And it really highlights the fact that the Supreme Court is not a legislature. We have legislative bodies and democratic institutions for a reason to deal with these hot-button social issues, and that’s why I think the Supreme Court expressed some skepticism through some questions.”


'The Supreme Court is not a legislature,' Prop 8 defendant says