(@SCOTUSblog) March 27, 2013
More detail here:
The question is whether or not the federal government under a federalism system has the authority to regulate marriage,” Justice Kennedy said during oral arguments. At another point, he disagreed with the lawyer’s contention that the law simply creates a single definition for federal purposes. “It’s not really uniformity,” the justice said, because same-sex couples would not have access to federal benefits that traditional couples have.
Justice Kennedy’s point echoed one made by his more liberal colleagues.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the federal law effectively created a two-tiered system of marriage. “There are two kinds of marriage,” she said. “Full marriage and the skim-milk marriage.”
As soon as the transcript is released, I’ll start working on a second analysis. But this strikes me as a more important and winnable case than yesterday’s and a victory would be huge – for federalism and for equality. It would, for example, immediately grant social security benefits to my husband were I to be run over by a truck; it would enable bi-national gay couples who are married in an equality state to stay together. And it offers the potential for a liberal-conservative alliance – conservatives for federalism, liberals for equality.