Day 1 of Supreme Court Oral Arguments on Same-Sex Marriage

Today, March 26, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments in the first of two cases pending before the Court dealing with the issue of same-sex marriage.  Today’s case, Hollingsworth v. Perry (No. 12-144), deals with the constitutionality of California’s ballot initiative Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage in California following its allowance under the state constitution by the California Supreme Court.

Tomorrow’s case, United States v. Windsor (No. 12-307) deals with the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which makes all federal laws that depend on marital status (such as tax and benefits laws) apply only to opposite-sex marriages, even if a same-sex marriage is valid as a matter of state law.

In both cases, the Supreme Court has broken with tradition to some extent.  Usually, the Court does not provide access on its own website to briefs filed by parties in cases before the Court (these are often available elsewhere, both freely and from commercial providers).  In these cases, however, the Court has created a page on its site where all of the filed briefs may be viewed.

Secondly, the Court is releasing same-day audio of the oral arguments.  While transcripts are now usually released on a same-day basis, this is less often the case with the actual audio recordings, which usually take at least until the end of the week for release.  The audio is available on the Court’s website and also at Chicago-Kent’s Oyez project, where the audio is also keyed to the oral argument transcript.

Oyez and Chicago-Kent’s Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States (ISCOTUS) have also teamed up on a “Deep Dive,” providing an extensive background on the issues in each case.

There is also extensive coverage at SCOTUSblog.

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