Court Watchers: Justice Roberts, Others, Likely to Decide Homosexual Marriage Case Based Upon Public Opinion

Photo credit:  Guillaume Paumier

Photo credit: Guillaume Paumier

The dramatic shift in public opinion on same-sex marriage is likely to affect the Supreme Court’s historic rulings on the issue later this month, say legal scholars.

The justices often say they do not worry at all about politics or public opinion, and simply do what they believe the law compels them to.

But it will be hard if not impossible for them ignore the enormous transformation in opinion on same sex marriage, court watchers say, especially with two cases that offer them flexibility in how to rule.

“I have to think the justices — and especially the chief — are very cognizant of the shifting public opinion,” said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond.


The marriage cases present a challenge for the conservative chief justice. Roberts likely doesn’t want the court to be on the wrong side of history. He might also be able to help limit the reach of an ostensibly liberal decision, as he did last year with President Obama’s healthcare law.

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