The Supreme Court issued decisions in the three remaining cases before it in the 2012-13 session today: Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Prop 8 case, United States v. Windsor, the Defense of Marriage Act case, and Sekhar, the case involving whether a lawyer’s advice is property for purposes of the Hobbs Act.
United States v. Windsor: In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage act is unconstitutional. Justice Kennedy writing for the Majority:
“DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment. DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled of recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty.
There is a “careful consideration” standard: In determining whether a law is motivated by improper animus or purpose, discriminations of an unusual character especially require careful consideration. DOMA cannot survive under these principles.
The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others.”
The opinion and its holding are confined to those lawful marriages.
Here is the link to the decision.
United States v. Windsor (DOMA) asked the Court: (1) Whether Section 3 of DOMA violates the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws as applied to persons of the same sex who are legally married under the laws of their State. (2) Whether the executive branch’s agreement with the decision below deprives the court of jurisdiction. (3) Whether BLAG has Article III jurisdiction.
Hollingworth v. Perry (Prop 8): In a 5-4 Decision the Court has ruled the petitioners (Prop 8 supporters) did not have standing to appeal the district court order. The decision of the Ninth Circuit is vacated and remanded.
Chief Roberts writes for the majority:
“We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend the constitutionality of a state statute when state officials have chosen not to. We decline to do so for the first time here.
The Ninth Circuit was without jurisdiciton to consider the appeal. The judgment of the Ninth Circuit is vacated, and the case is remanded with instructions to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.
Marty Lederman has a blog post (Prop 8 What Might Happen Next) discussing what might happen next if Perry was dismissed on standing grounds.
Here is the opinion in Hollingsworth v. Perry
Hollingworth v. Perry (Prop 8) asked the Court: (1) Whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the State of California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman; and (2) whether petitioners have standing under Article III, § 2 of the Constitution in this case.
Marriage equality supporters will be gathering at the Old Orange County Courthouse in Santa Ana this evening at 6:30 pm for a rally regarding todays decisions. The Courthouse is located at 211 W. Santa Ana Blvd.
Sekhar V. Unites States: 9-0 Affirming the lower court decision, Justice Scalia writes: “Attempting to compel a person to recommend that his employer approve an investment does not constitute the obtaining of property from another under the Hobbs Act.”
Writing for the majority, Justice Scalia writes:
“Attempting to compel a person to recommend that his employer approve an investment does not constitute the obtaining of property from another under the Hobbs Act.”
Here is the opinion in Sekhar
Sekhar V. Unites States asked the Court whether the “recommendation” of an attorney, who is a salaried employee of a governmental agency, in a single instance, is intangible property that can be the subject of an extortion attempt under 18 U.S.C. § 1951 (a)(the Hobbs Act) and 18 U.S.C. § 875(d).
Commentary on SCOTUS blog, as the decisions were issued, contributed to this article.