The New Yorker published a very interesting piece today regarding Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts and how he may potentially vote with regards to the gay rights cases that are swiftly making their way to the Supreme Court.
In light of what many are calling Roberts' "surprise" vote in favor of President Obama's health care plan, where he'll fall in the gay rights debate is subject to a great deal of speculation.
More after the jump.
Two cases, Gill v. Office of Personnel and Golinski v. O.P.M., each deal question the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
It's also likely that the Roberts court will review California's Proposition 8 case, which could result in same-sex Californian couples regaining their right to legally marry.
According to The New Yorker, "The Court will not have much flexibility in the DOMA cases. There is only one question presented: Is DOMA constitutional? It will have to be answered yes or no. In the Proposition 8 case, there are more options. The Court might restore same-sex marriage rights in California without finding a nationwide constitutionally based right to marriage equality."
The New Yorker also specifically raises a question for Roberts. Does he ultimately want to be on the wrong side of history?
"But now, in these marquee gay-rights cases facing the Court next term—as American public opinion, especially among young people, shifts rapidly towards greater equality—Roberts may find the very kind of “legacy” issues around which he has shown a willingness to break with his more conservatives colleagues. Put another way, these cases will help define what freedom and equality look like in America, perhaps for decades. Will Roberts want to be on the losing side of history?"
Even if the Supreme Court were to rule against gay rights' interests, it's likely that the Court will be faced with the same issues, possibly within the next decade. Would Roberts want to see his own rulings overturned while he's still part of the Court?
The New Yorker asks, "The question is whether a decade or more from now Chief Justice Roberts really wants to be leading a Court that embodies the last vestiges of anti-gay discrimination in the country, even as fewer and fewer Americans oppose equality."
Is it foolish to bet (or at least hope) that the answer to that question is no?
What do you think, Instincters?