California Supreme Court

A few quick reactions to today's excellent news from Iowa: 1. Obviously, the shadow of Prop 8 hovers over this decision. Many observers will question the wisdom of another state supreme court enacting gay marriage, given the rebuke voters delivered to the California Supreme Court in November. But one of the reasons gay marriage didn't stick in California was because it is so easy to pass a constitutional amendment in that state (all that is required is a simple majority of voters).

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Before California's Proposition 8 passed, banning gay marriage in the state, Jeffrey Rosen and Richard Just debated the California Supreme Court's decision to protect gay marriage.

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In a major setback for gay marriage advocates, California voters passed Proposition 8 last Tuesday. And since then, TNR's managing editor Richard Just and TNR's legal affairs editor Jeffrey Rosen have been debating the appropriate lessons to draw from the defeat. Read Rosen's opening argument here and Just's first reply here.   Dear Richard,   Many thanks for your thoughtful response. But just to be clear: I’m not arguing that judges should crudely follow the polls, or that courts are supposed to do nothing more than predict and ratify public opinion.

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In a major setback for gay marriage advocates, California voters passed Proposition 8 on Tuesday. Over the next couple of days, TNR's managing editor Richard Just and TNR's legal affairs editor Jeffrey Rosen will be debating the appropriate lessons to draw from the defeat. Rosen kicks things off below. (Click here for Richard Just's response.)   Dear Richard,   In our last dialogue on gay marriage in May, I expressed concern that the California Supreme Court’s decision to impose gay marriage by judicial fiat might trigger a backlash that would overturn the decision by popular initiative.

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The Connecticut Supreme Court struck down a state ban on gay marriage today, making Connecticut the third state--along with Massachussetts and California--to legalize gay marriage.  Now's a good time, then, to revisit the exchange between Jeffrey Rosen and Richard Just on the efficacy of state rulings on gay marriage. After the California Supreme Court's decision this spring, Rosen feared the political backlash might help elect Republicans, ensuring a more conservative judiciary and ultimately hampering civil rights. Just found that argument less than convincing. 

Also on TNR.com today: E.J. Graff suggests that Democrats who fear the political fallout of the gay marriage ruling are wrong-headed--from both an ethical and an electoral standpoint.    "Barack Obama has always believed that same-sex couples should enjoy equal rights under the law, and he will continue to fight for civil unions as president," the Obama campaign stated oh-so-carefully in response to this week's California Supreme Court decision striking down the state's ban on gay marriage.

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A debate with Jeffrey Rosen.

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Many are celebrating yesterday's decision by the California Supreme Court to legalize gay marriage in the state; others are bracing for a referendum battle; and some, cooped up in campaign offices, are trying to figure out how best to play it. So, in an effort to see the ruling from as many perspectives as possible, we've enlisted a few friends of the magazine to offer their thoughts. First, we have Jeffrey Rosen, who is TNR's legal affairs correspondent.

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During the past decade, an academic movement called critical race theory has gained increasing currency in the legal academy. Rejecting the achievements of the civil rights movement of the 1960s as epiphenomenal, critical race scholars argue that the dismantling of the apparatus of formal segregation failed to purge American society of its endemic racism, or to improve the social status of African Americans in discernible or lasting ways. The claim that these scholars make is not only political; it is also epistemological.

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