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Civil Rights Swap Meet: A Cynical Approach To Marriage Equality

Tuesday’s marriage arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court hinted at coming battles over the right of religious business owners or organizations to discriminate against gays and lesbians in contexts outside of marriage itself. Indeed, several briefs to the high court—and a few justices at oral argument—suggested that if same-sex people have a constitutional right to get married, it will be more difficult for individuals and businesses to use religion as an excuse to discriminate against same-sex people in other settings. Read more

Court Report: Justices Deliberate Marriage Equality

Seats inside the U.S. Supreme Court were at a premium today for the oral argument in Obergefell v. Hodges, the marriage equality case.

I was fortunate to get a spot in the press gallery. I was in the back row, and my view was obstructed by two large columns, but I’m not complaining; I would have been willing to hang from the rafters for this historic argument, a marathon session that featured five attorneys and lasted two and a half hours. Read more

Retaining The Towel: The Religious Right Hasn’t Given Up On Same-Sex Marriage Just Yet

Is the Religious Right ready to give up on same-sex marriage? At least one observer thinks so.

Damon Linker, writing in This Week, cites a short article that appeared in the conservative journal First Things recently as evidence of some kind of turning point in how theocratic groups deal with same-sex marriage. Read more

Snapshots From The Supreme Court: Justices Ponder Limits Of Religious Expression In Birth Control Case

Do for-profit corporations exercise religion? What constitutes a religious enterprise? What did Congress intend when it passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in 1993?

These and many other questions were batted about this morning as the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the pivotal combined case of Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties vs. Sebelius.   

I was fortunate to sit in the press gallery during the argument, and it seemed skepticism abounded on both sides. Read more

Justice For All: The Supreme Court And The Role Of The Justices’ Religious Beliefs

Today’s Washington Post has an interesting story about how the personal religious beliefs of members of the Supreme Court might affect their decisions.

The question is especially relevant now with the high court poised to hear oral arguments tomorrow in a pair of cases that could have far-reaching consequences for what religious freedom means. Read more

High Noon At The High Court: Supreme Court Takes Up Marriage Equality

I was fortunate enough to snag a seat in the press gallery for the oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court this morning in the Proposition 8 case, Hollingsworth v. Perry.

Prop. 8 was narrowly approved by California voters in 2008. It added a ban on same-sex marriage to the state constitution. Opponents are challenging it in court, asserting that it violates the rights of gays and lesbians who wish to marry. Read more

Mass Mess: Bishops Use Church Service To Lobby Supreme Court

The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court tied a record last week but that’s not something they should be proud of.

On Sept. 30, six members of the high court attended the annual “Red Mass,” a special church service for the legal profession held by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.

In attendance at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle were Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Anthony M. Kennedy and Elena Kagan. Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy and Thomas are Catholic; Breyer and Kagan are Jewish. Read more

Impaired Judgment: Justice Scalia Just Doesn’t Know When To Stop Talking

It didn’t get much attention, but Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia gave an interesting address recently at a Catholic university in Pittsburgh.

Scalia spoke at an event marking the 100th anniversary of Duquesne University Law School. It was the usual lament from the ultra-conservative justice: American society is going hell because not enough people agree with Scalia. Read more