SCOTUS Preview: Understanding the DOMA and Prop 8 arguments

Updated
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Beginning Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments against California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Patricia  Millet, an attorney who has argued 31 cases before the United States Supreme Court, and Jonathan Turley, legal analyst and professor of law at The George Washington University Law School, explained Sunday how the nation’s highest court might proceed.

California’s Proposition 8 is a decision among voters to rescind legal marriage status from same-sex couples that had already been legally married; whereas DOMA is a federal statute that attempts to define marriage as a legal condition only available to heterosexual couples.

Turley said that DOMA is special because of the issue of standing, or whether the plantiffs “have enough skin in the game” to prove that their own injuries are sufficient to bring suit. Justices, “could easily decide that there isn’t standing in these cases, either one,” and that, “You could have this weird situation where this is viewed by some justices as a matter of procedure instead of Constitutional Law.”

Millett added that the Court’s decision to tackle both laws at once places the issues of equal protection and state rights side by side, which makes it difficult to predict the outcome in advance, especially because, as Millett says, “Half the process, their own internal debate, is still to come.”

Watch the full interview for an expert preview of what could become one of the defining civil rights cases of a generation.

SCOTUS Preview: Understanding the DOMA and Prop 8 arguments

Updated