The Majesty of the Law

T-minus 1 hour until SCOTUS announces their decisions on DOMA and Prop. 8. I’m cautiously optimistic on DOMA, and afraid they will wimp out and use some bullshit standing argument to not decide Prop. 8.

You can follow the announcement of the decisions live at – I’ll try to follow and update, but I may still be sleeping at 7 am PDT after the Tuesday night Texas Lege trainwreck. Share your thoughts and reactions below.


9:55 EDT: Five minute buzzer

10:01 EDT: DOMA is dead! 5-4 by Kennedy.  “DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty. […] 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.”

10:11 EDT: SCOTUSblog says the dissent in DOMA implies they refused to take jurisdiction on Prop 8.

10:18 EDT: Scalia is reading his entire dissent from the bench, so we have a little time to spare. No word if Alito is rolling his eyes and sighing like he did yesterday when Ginsburg dissented from the Voting Rights Act decision.

10:26 EDT: Perry decision: Petitioners didn’t have standing to appeal to the 9th Circuit or SCOTUS. Northern District of California decision stands.  “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.”

10:30 EDT: Folks standing in line at San Francisco City Hall:

city hall

images“Rockaway Township – A Superior Court judge today ruled a blind gun hobbyist from Rockaway Township who accidentally shot himself while cleaning a weapon may keep his collection. Judge Thomas Manahan, sitting in Morristown, ruled that Steven Hopler may keep the six handguns he still has in his home, but he must store them in a safe pending an evaluation of his alcohol use.” []

Estimated time of the decision is 10:15 am EDT, as there are a couple of other decisions to release and it will be a madhouse of reporters and advocates trying to run out of the low-tech court after the release of the decision on the Affordable Care Act.

11:37 EDT Update: Decision  Linque to SCOTUS opinions here.

10:33 EDT Update:

Per Amy Howe at SCOTUSblog, who either has a copy in her hand or is secretly blogging from inside the court:

In Plain English: The Affordable Care Act, including its individual mandate that virtually all Americans buy health insurance, is constitutional. There were not five votes to uphold it on the ground that Congress could use its power to regulate commerce between the states to require everyone to buy health insurance. However, five Justices agreed that the penalty that someone must pay if he refuses to buy insurance is a kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing power. That is all that matters. Because the mandate survives, the Court did not need to decide what other parts of the statute were constitutional, except for a provision that required states to comply with new eligibility requirements for Medicaid or risk losing their funding. On that question, the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn’t comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding.

Before we get too excited about SCOTUS striking down most of Arizona’s crazy-pants immigration bill and holding that we shouldn’t have a blanket rule of consigning children to life in prison without parole…the court overturned a century’s old Montana law prohibiting corporations from buying and selling politicians.

[LAT: Supreme Court Ends Montana Ban on Corporate Political Spending]

Honestly, the man must have had it on repeat while thinking up questions to ask the Solicitor General.

This is what might sink the health care mandate. Broccoli. Really. This is what the Union has come to.  But, given the way the Republicans relate to broccoli, it is somewhat predictable, perhaps….

A countdown of sorts… cue up the rending of garments and freak outs.  (Linques will be added as they arise)

The 9th Circuit is ruling in Perry v. Brown on three things:

(1) Was it proper for District Judge Vaughn Walker to not recuse himself from the case because he is gay?

(2) If the answer to #1 is yes, do the proponents of the ballot measure have standing in federal court to appeal the decision since the Governator and Moonbeam won’t defend it?

(3) If the answer to #2 is yes, does Prop. 8 violate the 14th Amendment due process and equal protection rights of gays?

My prediction after the jump.

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“Attorney General Eric Holder today announced that self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and his four alleged co-conspirators will be tried in a military commission… The attorney general forcefully blamed Congress for compelling the Justice Department to make this decision by interfering for political gamesmanship.” [CBS]