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News Posted on June 20, 2013

Associate Dean Amar Comments for Media on Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Cases

Vikram Amar, Associate Dean and Professor of Law at UC Davis School of Law, commented for media including PBS, San Francisco's National Public Radio affiliate KQED, the Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News, Sacramento Bee, Daily Journal and others on the U.S. Supreme Court same-sex marriage case rulings.

The Court's decision to strike down the portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that defined marriage as being between one man and one woman for the purposes of federal benefits was predictable, assuming the Court ruled on the merits, Amar said in an interview with CNBC.

"I think everybody who really looked at the oral argument had a sense that there would be five votes to strike DOMA down if the Court reached the merits," said Amar. "Justice Kennedy tipped his hand a little bit at oral argument. The big question was going to be how much his rationale used to strike down DOMA would carry over to strike down laws of the 38 states that ban same-sex marriage, and it appears from my quick review, the reasoning he used strikes down DOMA but does not interfere with the state decisions to ban same sex marriage."

In an interview with KQED, Amar addressed several issues related to the Court's ruling on Proposition 8, including why the Justices decided to rule the initiative's sponsors lacked standing to bring the case rather than address the merits.

"I think that the Court did not want to wade into this thicket any more than it had to," Amar said. "It wants to see how various states are going to evolve in this arena. Remember, this is a very fast-moving landscape." The Court may wish to "decide the ultimate question against a backdrop that's more stable than the one we have now."

Vikram Amar, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Law with the 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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