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News Posted on April 3, 2013

Associate Dean Amar Analyzes Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Cases for Broadcast, Print, and Online Media

Vikram Amar, Associate Dean and Professor of Law at UC Davis School of Law, commented for dozens of media outlets on the same-sex marriage cases under review by the U.S. Supreme Court.  His analysis appeared in a wide range of media, including National Public Radio affiliates KQED and KXJZ, PolitiFact, San Francisco Bay Area television station KTVU, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Magazine, and in a story syndicated by the Associated Press that ran in numerous newspapers and online.

One of the cases under review, Hollingsworth v. Perry, concerns California's same-sex marriage ban initiative Proposition 8, while the other, Windsor v. United States, concerns the federal Defense of Marriage Act, but "both cases ask the basic question: How skeptical should courts be under equal protection principles about laws that discriminate against gays and lesbians?" Amar said in an interview with PolitiFact.

In an extensive interview broadcast on KQED on March 26, Amar talked about the oral arguments and what they may portend.  Amar discussed points made in favor of and against Prop. 8, and suggested that, given the Justices' many questions regarding whether the sponsors of the initiative have standing to challenge the Ninth Circuit ruling in the case, "there is at least a very good chance that this case will get resolved on standing grounds." Professor Amar has been writing about the possibility that the sponsors lack standing under the federal Constitution for over two years and was one of the first, if not the first commentator to fully lay out the argument against sponsor standing in various online essays.

Commenting for KTVU, Amar said that if the Court does decide that the sponsors lack standing, it is unclear exactly what would happen.  The ruling likely would be confined to California in its impact, but could range from (ultimately, after some intervening developments) granting marriage rights to all same-sex couples in the state to merely allowing the two couples who are the plaintiffs in Hollingsworth v. Perry to get married, he said.

Vikram Amar, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at UC Davis School of Law, is a national authority in the fields of constitutional law, civil procedure, criminal procedure, and remedies. His biweekly column for, a leading provider of online legal information, centers on his expertise in constitutional law.



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