A Look at Supreme Court Justice John Roberts and Gay Marriage

The Wall Street Journal's Jess Bravin looks at Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and the upcoming case on DOMA and Proposition 8 the Court will be considering at the end of the month:

RobertsChief Justice Roberts doubtless knows "that history is going in a certain direction," even if he isn't persuaded that the Constitution requires invalidation of laws denying recognition to gay marriages, said Richard Pildes, a law professor at New York University. If that leads him to side against Mr. Obama's position, it could place the chief justice in "a tragic kind of position—knowing how a decision they believe is correct today is going to look bad 15 years down the road."…

…Legal experts say that how the chief justice expresses his position on gay marriage—whether he writes his own opinion or joins that of another justice—could be as significant as how he votes. Should he vote to uphold either or both of the laws against gay marriage, his opinions will be parsed for indications of his attitude toward gay couples and whether he writes favorably of political trends that could expand gay marriage without court intervention.

Under that alternative, in 20 years he could say, "See, we said this is a matter for legislative resolution and not judicial resolution, and things turned out well," said Harvard law professor Mark Tushnet. "To be able to do that, the opinion has to be very carefully written to make it clear that the court is taking no position on the merits of gay marriage."

On a side note, the Chairman of the National Organization for Marriage John Eastman smeared Roberts yesterday for giving his adopted children the "second-best" option. Whether that smear has any effect on his thinking about fairness and equality may never be known.

Roberts Worked Behind the Scenes on Gay Rights Case [tlrd]