Same-Sex Marriage: Will Justice Kennedy Again Provide the Swing Vote?


Justice Anthony Kennedy is often the deciding swing vote in key cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. As a result, he receives a lot of attention during oral arguments. Some have even characterized it as “kissing up.”

As highlighted in a recent Washington Post column, both sides frequently addressed Justice Kennedy during the two same-sex marriage arguments. The following are just a few examples:

"To go back to Justice Kennedy's point ..."

"With all due respect, Justice Kennedy ..."

"With respect, Justice Kennedy ..."

"As Justice Kennedy said ..."

In many ways, the attention is warranted. In a Court comprised of four liberal judges and four conservatives, Kennedy has shown that he cannot be so easily labeled, following in the footsteps of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. In several cases on abortion, Kennedy has sided with conservatives in upholding restrictions, such as laws criminalizing partial-birth abortion and requiring minors to obtain parental consent. Kennedy also sides with conservative on the issue of gun control, agreeing to strike down the District of Columbia’s ban on handguns in District of Colombia v. Heller.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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