|Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy|
I'm a worrier. On election night I got home from work, took a Xanax and turned on PBS, hoping for the best. I had checked Nate Silver's blog every hour or so the previous month and I knew the chances were in Obama's favor. I was still worried until the returns started coming in. It's no surprise that, even with optimistic reports like this, I'll worry until the rulings are reported.
When the Supreme Court takes up two major cases on marriage equality next spring, all eyes will be on an ever-important swing vote whom gay rights advocates are optimistic about winning: Justice Anthony Kennedy.
The Reagan-appointed justice has pained liberals on many occasions, most recently this summer when he voted to wipe out the Affordable Care Act. But when it comes to gay rights, Kennedy has written passionately in its favor, spearheading the court’s two key rulings for gay equality.
“I expect Justice Kennedy to vote in favor of marriage equality,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, a constitutional law professor at the University of California, Irvine School of Law.
“There have been two decisions in American history expanding rights for gays and lesbians: Romer v. Evans and Lawrence v. Texas. Anthony Kennedy wrote the opinion for the Court in both,” Chemerinsky told TPM by email. “He knows where history is going and that he faces the choice between writing the nextPlessy v. Ferguson and the next Brown v. Board of Education. He wants to be on the right side of history.”
Lucas Powe, a Supreme Court historian at the University of Texas, Austin School of Law, agreed. “I think Kennedy’s vote is very secure,” he told TPM. “Kennedy has a libertarian streak — he has written the key gay rights opinions and I think he will continue to do so.”
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