Federal Prop 8 Trial | Gay Marriage | News | Proposition 8 | Supreme Court | Thomas Roberts

NBC's Pete Williams Says SCOTUS Not Ready to Issue 'Any Kind of Sweeping Ruling' on Gay Rights: VIDEO


NBC's Pete Williams, who was in the courtroom, tells Thomas Roberts that the Supreme Court is "not prepared to issue any kind of sweeping ruling about gay rights" and that it's likely they'll limit their ruling to California. He also notes that it's "risky" to make any kind of an assessment simply based on oral arguments.


Our legal expert Ari Ezra Waldman has posted his analysis of today's arguments. Read his take on their questioning of Prop 8 proponents HERE, and opponents (Ted Olson's argument) HERE.

And listen to the audio and read the transcripts of today's arguments HERE.

(via the new civil rights movement)

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  1. Oh whatever! He also (along with many others) said that the court was going to throw out the ACA. The bottom line is know one knows what the court is going to do until they do it. One side note... If you read what Williams says you notice that he parses and edits the exchange between Scalia and Olsen regarding "when did the constitution change"... he leaves out Olsen's retort regarding inter-racial marriage. They way he conveniently omits that makes it appear that Scalia made a point. Instead Scalia comes across IMO as a bit out of touch. This doesn't impact how the court will rule of course, but it seems like "the narrative" of the MSM is that this is all too much too fast. They keep bringing up Rove v. Wade which is an apples to oranges comparison. Pathetic!

    Posted by: Gerry | Mar 26, 2013 6:22:30 PM

  2. If not now, when?

    How will Marriage Equality be MORE constitutional 10 or 20 years from now? If it will be constitutional then, how isn't it constitutional NOW?

    How do you justify allowing same-sex couples and families headed by same-sex couples to continue to suffer legal harm by allowing unconstitutional laws to stand?

    There is no other answer but institutional cowardice.

    Posted by: Sweet Justice | Mar 26, 2013 6:28:06 PM

  3. One other point... Ralph Reed (of all people) was on Hard Ball with Chris Matthews and he made the statement that 80 some percent of the nation forbid Marriage Equality. Matthews let that pass. While it may be true if you count just the states - but if you count the population of the states you have the statistic that 42% of the population current lives in a state which has some form of same sex marriage, civil union or domestic partnership recognition. That's almost half. Again, I don't get why the anti-gay crowd can always get to spout their bigotry unchallenged.

    Posted by: Gerry | Mar 26, 2013 6:28:20 PM

  4. Alito thinks that same-sex marriage is newer than the internet and cell phones so...we shouldn't be allowed to get married. Huh?

    Posted by: Gigi | Mar 26, 2013 6:30:17 PM

  5. Kennedy made a lot of noises about being uncomfortable with the whole thing--even going so far as to suggest it might have been a mistake for SCOTUS to take the case. I don't necessarily consider this a bad sign. What it is instead is a sign of internal conflict. That means Kennedy knows the right thing to do and feels pressure not to be on the wrong side of history. He knows at the same time that the religious right will excoriate him if his vote legalizes gay marriage nationwide or even just expands it by a few states. And lets face it, these things always come down to Kennedy's vote. He knows it better than anyone, and that's why he's stressing so much about it. Let's hope he votes with his conscience, and if he does, let's be sure to say thanks to him and all of the Supremes who vote for equality.

    Posted by: MajorTom | Mar 26, 2013 6:40:46 PM

  6. @Gigi... yeah, I thought that was ridiculous also...first of all, he needs to look at Wikipedia. In the modern era The Netherlands had marriage equality in 2001 - and of course it has been recognized through the ages. In the modern era it's a little hard to have gay marriages when you ostracize gays. Second, exactly how long is the right amount of time, especially when you can't articulate one harm that will befall society? On the contrary numerous harms can be named of the damage that preventing it will do. Just ridiculous!

    Posted by: Gerry | Mar 26, 2013 6:44:24 PM

  7. Boy, are people going over the top. He gleans off of this from questions that almost certainly were going to be asked regardless of where the court is on the issue.

    Posted by: Factoid | Mar 26, 2013 6:45:57 PM

  8. I think what Kennedy and others may be uncomfortable with is that usually when the Supreme Court finds there is a federal constitutional right, it has the laws of at least the majority of states already in support of that proposition, such as when it said interracial marriage cannot be banned or when it outlawed juvenile execution or when it outlawed sodomy laws. Usually, they can say, "see, most states agree with us already." But, the Court is very hesitant to say something is a constitutional right when only nine states allow that practice. It does not want to overreach and make the overwhelming majority (41) of states do something against their will. Kennedy is winking to gay rights advocates and saying, "go get same-sex marriage passed in the majority of states" and then you can come back to us and reasonably declare it is a national constitutional right.

    Posted by: Jake | Mar 26, 2013 6:48:28 PM

  9. Jake that's a misleading statement about irrational marriage laws.

    While its true that many states had eliminated, there were states that historically (just as now almost certainly were never going to allow interracial marriage).

    In fact, a recent poll of one of those states (I believe its MS) still shows there is something like 30 percent of the voters (or maybe it was Republicans?) who decades after the ruling in Loving are against interracial marriage.

    You may be right that this is their concern, but their job is to judge whether a law is constitution and not wait for states that almost certainly will not find for equality to catch up.

    Posted by: Factoid | Mar 26, 2013 7:09:43 PM

  10. Gerry,it's why I don't get why GLAAD only went after FOX News.
    These anti gay talking heads are getting as just as much of a pass on stations they shouldn't be getting them on.

    Posted by: Kevin | Mar 26, 2013 7:22:21 PM

  11. This was done right after arguments concluded, so there really isn't anything new here.

    Posted by: anon | Mar 26, 2013 8:01:50 PM

  12. It sounds like the Supreme Court is trying to find a way to tip-toe around the issue and make a ruling that only affects California...perhaps they don't want to be responsible for bringing equality to where it isn't currently popular. However, the justices are in for life, I can't think of any legal / electoral ramifications...

    Posted by: MuscleModelBlog.com | Mar 26, 2013 11:50:20 PM

  13. It's much more logical to assume that the court is ready to issue a sweeping ruling otherwise they probably wouldn't have taken up the issue in the first place.

    Posted by: Garst | Mar 27, 2013 4:05:38 AM

  14. This may be true but remember all of the predictions about the Obamacare decision - that it was sure to be struck down judging by the arguments in court? No one really knows what will happen.

    Posted by: Francis | Mar 27, 2013 6:07:11 AM

  15. I wonder if Pete Williams and his boyfriend are married yet....hmmm.....

    Posted by: David | Mar 27, 2013 7:15:48 AM

  16. Jake, 41 states haven't come out against marriage equality. They just haven't all come out for it. Do you know the difference?

    Stop trolling.

    Posted by: Paul R | Mar 27, 2013 8:20:37 AM

  17. I think we should all realize that it's hard to judge what the decision will be based on what the judges ask. They will often ask adversarial questions to hear the answers.

    Posted by: db | Mar 27, 2013 11:48:17 AM

  18. It is interesting to see a gay reporter talking about it to a gay anchor.

    Posted by: db | Mar 27, 2013 11:48:55 AM

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