John Roberts Hints Gays Are So Powerful They Don't Need Protection

John RobertsChief Justice John Roberts at a prayer breakfast in 2008.

The U.S.  Supreme Court heard a huge case today involving the defence of Marriage Act, and a key issue in the case will be whether the law deserves so-called “heightened scrutiny.”

That doctrine makes it easier to strike down laws that have a negative impact on groups that lack political power and have endured a history of discrimination (so-called “suspect classes”).

But Chief Justice John Roberts seemed to suggest on Tuesday that DOMA doesn’t deserve heightened scrutiny because gays have so much political power.

Roberta Kaplan, who’s arguing the case against DOMA, mentioned that gay rights have evolved since 1996 when Bill Clinton signed DOMA.

“I suppose the sea change has a lot to do with the political force and effectiveness of people representing, supporting your side of the case?” Roberts responded.

Roberts added, “You don’t doubt that the lobby supporting the enactment of same sex-marriage laws in different States is politically powerful, do you? ... As far as I can tell, political figures are falling over themselves to endorse your side of the case.”

The Republican lawmakers defending DOMA also argued gays have so much political favour these days there’s no way they could be a “suspect class” that lacks power.

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