A law professor in Nebraska will be listening closely to the arguments before the United States Supreme Court this week on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage.
Two cases are before the court. The first is a challenge to Proposition 8, a ballot measure approved by California voters in 2008, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman. The second is a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, approved by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996.
Constitutional Law Professor Michael Fenner at Creighton University says the cases might come down to the judgment of one man.
“One thing you always listen for is what’s on Justice Kennedy’s mind, because he clearly is the swing vote in an awful lot of United States Supreme Court cases,” Fenner tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.
Fenner points out that Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the decision striking down state statutes outlawing sodomy as well as state laws that prohibited affirmative action statutes from extending to homosexuals.
The cases could be decided along narrow, legal lines or in a broad, sweeping decision, according to Fenner who says the ramifications of the Roe v. Wade case legalizing abortion could enter the minds of some justices considering the case.
Justices could punt on the issue, ruling that the challenge to Proposition 8 didn’t come before the court properly, that those challenging the law didn’t have “standing” to bring the lawsuit.
“And I can’t wait for the decision to come down, so that we can all start second guessing it,” Fenner says.
Rulings in the cases are expected to be handed down in June.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:40]
AUDIO: Creighton University law professor Michael Fenner talks about same-sex cases on Drive Time Lincoln. [13:20]