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VirtualCongress February 5th, 2014 9:16pm

Supreme Court Case: USA1st (R) Requests a review of the potential conflict between the Marriage Equality Act of 2014 and the Doopy Marriage Act.

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UWHuskyFan2 Woodinville, WA
02/07/14 7:18 pm

Official Minority Opinion representing WV and myself: Doppy's Marriage Act is indeed constitutional. The government has the right to essentially privatize marriage. While I do see Justice Skinner's point that a contract could be interpreted as a

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UWHuskyFan2 Woodinville, WA
02/07/14 7:20 pm

Conflict with business contracts, I believe and interpret the wording to refer specifically to marriages/civil unions. For these reasons I think the government can disassociate itself with marriage, but it comes down interpretation of the bill on

UWHuskyFan2 Woodinville, WA
02/07/14 7:22 pm

This matter. It appears that if this bill were to be considered constitutional by a majority of the court it would have to be re-worded to define contracts and disassociate them with business, and then re-passed by a majority of the Congress.

UWHuskyFan2 Woodinville, WA
02/07/14 4:02 pm

Both overturned

UWHuskyFan2 Woodinville, WA
02/06/14 10:26 pm

Question: does the DMA refer to Doppy's marriage Act? If so am I seriously the only no vote? Haha

skinner Jersey City
02/07/14 6:12 pm

Yes it does, and you are the only Justice choosing to uphold the DML

USA1st
02/06/14 9:44 pm

Can the judges give me an update or a final ruling to post on VC social media?

NDAmerican Florida
02/07/14 11:20 pm

DMA=4-1 unconstitutional
EMA=3-2 unconstitutional

NDAmerican Florida
02/07/14 11:20 pm

And 2 votes that Marriage is a right

skinner Jersey City
02/06/14 4:46 pm

Hmm. Correct me if I'm mistaken but I believe the collective decision here is:

Overturn DMA: 4-1
Overturn EMA: 3-2

So I guess both laws are overturned?

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skinner Jersey City
02/06/14 4:47 pm

If everyone agrees with the tally then I think we should have a majority opinion and perhaps even a dissenting opinion for the official record. Do I have any volunteers to write the majority opinion?

zman117 Ohio
02/06/14 4:49 pm

Bethany already wrote enough for both! haha

NDAmerican Florida
02/06/14 4:49 pm

I agree with that.

NDAmerican Florida
02/06/14 4:52 pm

Well Bethany has the majority opinion for the DMA, and I guess, Skinner, you, Husky, or I should make the majority opinion for the EMA.

zman117 Ohio
02/06/14 4:58 pm

Screw zman!

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 5:12 pm

Part of my ruling on the DMA might be able to serve as the majority opinion, if my fellow justices agree with the reasoning -- however, I think mine or theirs may be a concurrence in result only, as my finding of unconstitutionality was premised on

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 5:14 pm

the revocation of rights for existing marriages as a violation of the Fifth Amendment. I did find it constitutional (if terrible) as to future marriages, except to the extent that the MEA overturns it -- but then I'm in the minority in finding the

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 5:15 pm

MEA itself constitutional. If it's unconstitutional it can't have any effect on the constitutional provisions of the DMA. BUT, that technicality seems to affect reasoning only and not result, since I believe three other justices held the DMA

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 5:15 pm

unconstitutional in its entirety.

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 5:15 pm

Dammit, I'm overly verbose today for some reason.

NDAmerican Florida
02/06/14 5:24 pm

You're fine lol

zman117 Ohio
02/06/14 4:37 pm

I agree with my colleagues that the Doopy Law is unconstitutional in the first place. Considering this there is no contradiction concern, and also agreeing with what bethany said, I too rule that the EMA is indeed constitutional.

zman117 Ohio
02/06/14 4:39 pm

That's all I have to say about that.
I don't feel like writing a long opinion as my fellow justices did. Lol

zman117 Ohio
02/06/14 4:47 pm

Wait, there's more!


As wv said, marriage is indeed a right that cannot be denied. A state does not have the authority to outlaw same sex marriage, due to it being an individual liberty for all citizens.

NDAmerican Florida
02/06/14 4:29 pm

So it appears already that both the Doopy Marriage Law and the Equal Marriage Law have been found unconstitutional by a majority of the court.

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bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 3:49 pm

It would seem my esteemed colleagues have decided that this case turns not only on the question presented to the Court, but also on the underlying constitutionality of each law. As to the initial question, as to the conflict between the two laws and

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bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 3:51 pm

the effect of such a conflict, I hold that the Marriage Equality Act expresses a clear intention by the legislature to grant federal recognition of marriages. However, the MEA does not expressly create any "rights" except the right of same-sex couple

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 3:53 pm

to convert their civil partnerships into marriages. Thus, to the extent that these recognitions and rights conflict with the Doopy Marriage Act, basic canons of statutory interpretation are clear that the later-enacted law, in this case the MEA,

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 3:54 pm

prevails.

As to the constitutionality of either statute to the extent that it has any effect: the DMA is phrased in overly broad terms, as noted by my colleagues, which terms appear to encompass any and all possible legal relationships between two

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 3:57 pm

persons. However, to interpret the statute as broadly as it is written would be to read the legislation as creating an absurdity. As Justice Scalia cogently observed in his concurrence in Green v. Bock Laundry Machine Co., 490 U.S. 504 (1989), where

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 3:58 pm

a literal reading of legislation would produce an absurdity, but the legislative history of such statute evidences no absurd intent, the court is not to interpret it in an absurd manner. Accordingly, to the extent that the DMA appears to invalidate

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 4:00 pm

ALL legal relationships, I hold that the legislative intent of the act is sufficiently clear to avoid such a result. That said, however, the Congressional revocation of federal recognition of marriage, in all manners and for all purposes, is not to

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 4:04 pm

be taken lightly. This instant and total revocation of federal marriage rights appears to be a violation of the fifth amendment's prohibition against the government's taking of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. The legislature

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 4:05 pm

identified no compelling state interest served by this revocation of rights under the law, and therefore, the law is unconstitutional insofar as it purports to invalidate federal recognition of marriages existing at the time of its enactment. Finally

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 4:07 pm

by virtue of the fact that the DMA's effect is to prohibit the recognition by the federal government of future marriages, the MEA now appears to grant special rights to same-sex couples that are not granted to opposite-sex couples, i.e., the right to

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 4:08 pm

federal recognition of their marriages. However, the legislative history of this law is likewise clear: the intent was not to grant special rights to same-sex couples, but rather to extend traditional marriage rights to them in addition. Again,

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 4:09 pm

invoking statutory interpretation principles against absurdity, I hold that the MEA provides that future marriages may be *recognized* by the federal government, although the federal government may not, under the DMA, create *rights* flowing from any

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 4:10 pm

marriages taking place after the MEA's enactment. This, of course, leaves federal agencies and the courts with quite the conundrum: do existing privileges to married couples under federal law create "rights," or are they merely consequences of the

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 4:11 pm

"recognition" of those marriage? Unfortunately, this seems to be a case-by-case analysis. To the extent that a federal action would clearly create a *right* in an individual that would exist only by virtue of that individual's status as a married

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 4:12 pm

person, as to marriages not already in place by the time of the DMA, this would appear to be a clear violation of the statute. If, on the other hand, any privileges extended to a married person are a matter of administration (such as, for instance,

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 4:13 pm

the filing of taxes jointly as a married couple), it seems that such privileges are not "rights" so much as consequences of recognition. This creates a very unfortunate situation in which newly-married couples will be faced with the inability to

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 4:14 pm

obtain, e.g., social security benefits owed to a deceased spouse. However, I cannot find any provision of the constitution that would render such a result, unreasonable as it is, automatically unconstitutional. I find myself, therefore, unable to do

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 4:15 pm

anything more than remark upon the ill-advised and short-sighted nature of the DMA.

Finally, I am unpersuaded by the arguments that the constitution does not permit the federal government to recognize marriages. In addition to purporting to

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 4:19 pm

invalidate the basis for countless decisions before this court both explicitly and implicitly premised on marriage rights and their recognition by the federal government, it is plainly incorrect. Federal recognition of marriage -- which has never

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 4:20 pm

before been challenged as unconstitutional -- is well within the contemplation of both the Full Faith and Credit and Privileges and Immunities clauses of Article IV.

zman117 Ohio
02/06/14 4:30 pm

TLDR

zman117 Ohio
02/06/14 4:34 pm

Lol no, I agree with much of what you said. Deep down, I'm just mad that you are making me look mad.

NDAmerican Florida
02/06/14 4:38 pm

There there lol

zman117 Ohio
02/06/14 4:41 pm

*bad

See, I'm so upset I can't even type correctly.

skinner Jersey City
02/06/14 4:49 pm

Wow. That's very impressive Beth. I feel rather stupid.

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 5:10 pm

Lol zman -- don't feel too bad. Don't forget, I'm the least popular justice and you're the most popular. So you've got that at least ;-)

Mr. Chief Justice, you are most definitely not dumb :)

zman117 Ohio
02/06/14 5:21 pm

True, I am pretty awesome!

A lot of people probably just voted against you because they don't understand what you are saying. You gotta keep in mind who your audience is. Lol

NDAmerican Florida
02/06/14 5:22 pm

OO-----Zman
___

zman117 Ohio
02/06/14 5:28 pm

*Slowly waves hand*

Don't worry, wv, you weren't one of the people that I was talking about!

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 5:32 pm

zman, are you suggesting I come across as condescending???

(That means I talk down to people)

NDAmerican Florida
02/06/14 5:33 pm

Alright I shall cross you off my list lol

zman117 Ohio
02/06/14 5:37 pm

Joking aside, I wasn't calling people stupid as much as I was just complimenting bethany. When it comes to matters of the law she is bound to have a little bit of knowledge.
I even had to use Wikipedia to know what the hell she was talking about! Lol

zman117 Ohio
02/06/14 5:40 pm

Lol no, you are far from condescending. If anything you're the opposite. I've noticed on quite a few occasions where it's clear that you have more knowledge of the subject at hand, yet you truly treat the other individual as having an equal say.

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 5:46 pm

Thank you zman. I'm truly flattered by your assessment.

zman117 Ohio
02/06/14 5:52 pm

Well I think that's enough of this hippie stuff for me, this poll has become far too relaxed.
Time to go find some conservatives to battle!

skinner Jersey City
02/06/14 2:00 pm

Nowhere in the Constitution of the United States of America does Congress have the power to define marriage in any sense. The Marriage Equality Act of 2014 creates an unacceptably high interference by the federal government in marriage. The tenth

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skinner Jersey City
02/06/14 2:24 pm

amendment to the Constitution guarantees that all powers not granted to the federal government are granted to the individual states. States are the only governments which may pass legislation legalizing gay marriage or making it illegal. Which is why

skinner Jersey City
02/06/14 2:27 pm

I am prepared to rule the Marriage Equality Act of 2014. Furthermore the Doopy Marriage Act also provides some conflicts. When you examine the wording of the bill it becomes self evident that this act violates legal precedent regarding legal

skinner Jersey City
02/06/14 2:29 pm

personality. "The federal government shall grant no special recognition, nor rights, nor privileges, nor powers, to any union, contract, or commitment between any two or more persons." This text implies that the federal government may not recognize

skinner Jersey City
02/06/14 2:31 pm

any legal personality from cooperatives to states. So while the intent is constitutional the language of the Doopy Marriage Act goes against centuries of judicial precedent. Which is why I rule both laws unconstitutional.

skinner Jersey City
02/06/14 3:37 pm

I might add that the federal government may recognize marriages formed under state laws but the federal government may not pass legislation regarding marriages.

NDAmerican Florida
02/05/14 7:17 pm

Sorry guys I've been at work, I have to agree these laws contradict. I have to agree with shazam that the Doopy law does violate former Supreme Court cases, however I do not see a congressional power to regulate marriage in the constitution.

NDAmerican Florida
02/05/14 7:36 pm

I have studied my constitution, and prior cases and I have come to a conclusion. The constitution does not give the power to congress to regulate or recognize marriage, therefore we can not illegalize or legalize marriage. Therefore I must rule to

NDAmerican Florida
02/05/14 7:40 pm

Uphold the Doopy Marriage Law. The power to regulate marriage is that of the states. Now because the Federal Congress does not have the right to regulate marriage, I rule that the Equal Marriage Act is unconstitutional. Now marriage is protected

NDAmerican Florida
02/05/14 7:42 pm

Under the 9th amendment, and also do to the freedom of religion in the 1st amendment we can not deny same sex couples the right to marry. I rule that same sex marriage is a constitutional right.

NDAmerican Florida
02/05/14 7:46 pm

Finally, because of the 1st amendment we can't force anyone to marry same sex couples so in summary.
-Doopy-Constitutional
-Equal Marriage-Unconstitutional
-Same Sex Marriage-Constitutional Right
-Can't force anyone to marry someone.

Shazam Scaramouche, OH
02/06/14 12:19 am

WV, doesn't the current language of the DMA strip all corporations, Non-profit and other groups of all legal rights?

Shazam Scaramouche, OH
02/06/14 12:20 am

"The federal government shall grant no special recognition, nor rights, nor privileges, nor powers, to any union, contract, or commitment between any two or more persons."

I have abridged to only include the text that concerns me.

Shazam Scaramouche, OH
02/06/14 12:23 am

I also do not find any constitutional basis for transferring the right to determine marriage rules from state to fed gov. On the other hand, I see this as a civil rights issue more than simply benefit/taxation. I would suggest they look at how

Shazam Scaramouche, OH
02/06/14 12:24 am

Previous voter liberties were assured, d model a bill along those lines. In that example, states still created the guidelines, but they needed to be approved by the federal gov to ensure equality.

NDAmerican Florida
02/06/14 3:25 am

Shazams doopy's bills only addresses the federal gov, not private industries. The constitution does not grant congress the right to regulate marriage not recognize it so the equal marriage act is unconstitutional. The 10th amendment gives all powers

NDAmerican Florida
02/06/14 3:26 am

Not vested into Congress to the states. This is a civil rights issues that must be protected as a right to the court which is why I ruled in that way.

NDAmerican Florida
02/06/14 1:46 pm

I revise one portion of the ruling (sorry justin) I rule the wording for the Doopy Law is just too broad and is unconstitutional. I rule that both laws must be struck down. I still keep my ruling about marriage being a right though. PS, sorry Shazam

NDAmerican Florida
02/06/14 1:47 pm

I didn't see it at first, skinner had to show me what you were talking about.

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 3:45 pm

Wait, are we ruling on constitutionality or on the effect of the conflict of the two laws? Because those are two separate issues. Or are we just deciding that the justices can decide whatever issues they want to for any case? Much as I would enjoy

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 3:46 pm

going mad with power...

NDAmerican Florida
02/06/14 3:49 pm

I want the power!!!!! Haha we are ruling whether the two laws contradict, and whether they are constitutional in the first place.

UWHuskyFan2 Woodinville, WA
02/05/14 6:21 pm

The recently passed bill legalizing gay marriage completely contradicts Doopy's marriage law. Doopy's law says that the government won't grant special recognition to marriage regardless of sexually orientation, age, etc. in my opinion this legalizes

UWHuskyFan2 Woodinville, WA
02/05/14 6:24 pm

And de-associates all marriages with the government. If all marriage is legal and not regulated by the government, then legalizing gay marriage has no effect, and based on Doopy's law essential makes hetro-sexual marriage illegal, by only recognizing

UWHuskyFan2 Woodinville, WA
02/05/14 6:25 pm

Gay marriage. This is why I find the laws contradictory, and Doppy's law stands, and the Gay Marriage law should be repealed and not accepted as law

Shazam Scaramouche, OH
02/05/14 5:34 pm

I would ask my fellow Justices to consider that as worded, the DMA could be argued to go against previously decided SCOTUS cases. In particular those that grant rights to legal personalities. I would suggest that this act be struck down accordingly

BillieJoeCobain Earth turns from sanity
02/05/14 4:54 pm

By my understanding, the Doopy Marriage Law means we cannot grant special privileges to any couples regardless of sexual orientation, race, etc. the Marriage Equality Act doesn't grant special privileges...just grants equality.

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skinner Jersey City
02/05/14 4:33 pm

Good point USA. You're correct they both cannot stand. The question is which law should be the one to be invalidated. Should legal tenure be the deciding factor or should something else? Please correct me if I am mistaken, but I believe the

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skinner Jersey City
02/05/14 4:34 pm

Constitution does not address this complication.

USA1st
02/05/14 4:58 pm

Thank you. The Doopy Law was in place first, but I don't know if that means much.

Shazam Scaramouche, OH
02/05/14 5:38 pm

Skinner as I read the DMA for the first time, what I was immedately stuck by was it's potential implications for how the gov treats persona ficta. While based on its name it appears the authors intended this Act to be applicable only to marriage

Shazam Scaramouche, OH
02/05/14 5:41 pm

the language of the Act could have much farther implications than intended. A discussion on Juridical Persons or Legal Personalities is attached. I would suggest the DMA is ruled unconstitutional as a result: bit.ly/1drlFo1

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 4:22 pm

Basic principle of statutory interpretation is that if a law conflicts with a law previously-enacted by the same legislative body, the later law controls. It's basically as though the legislature decided to repeal the former law and pass a new one.

skinner Jersey City
02/06/14 4:41 pm

Beth: Oh. So you're saying we went through this whole debate for nothing?

bethanyq Ess Eff
02/06/14 5:20 pm

Not for nothing! Doesn't everyone find statutory interpretation as much fun as I do? C'mon, it's fun and not nerdy, right? Right?

political Georgia
02/05/14 4:08 pm

As a former justice, I see a major contradiction in the two laws. For the newer bill to become law, you must repeal Doopy's amendment.

crewsmissle Florida
02/05/14 4:00 pm

Side note how and when do we see the verdict of these Supreme Court battles? Like final summary

skinner Jersey City
02/05/14 4:35 pm

Good question. There is a Supreme Court section on the database but I don't believe it is up to date.

VirtualCongress Speaker NDAmerican
02/05/14 4:40 pm

It's a work in progress. They will appear on the docket with everything else once I find the time to program it. They're a little trickier.

VirtualCongress Speaker NDAmerican
02/05/14 4:41 pm

Well, let me correct that: they will likely appear on the docket spreadsheet on their own tab.

keembar
02/05/14 3:27 pm

What's the point of the marriage equality law if we already have the Doopy Marriage Act?

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VirtualCongress Speaker NDAmerican
02/05/14 2:23 pm

The federal government shall grant no special recognition, nor rights, nor privileges, nor powers, to any marriage, union, contract, or commitment between any two or more persons, regardless of age, race, sex, sexuality, or national origin.

NDAmerican Florida
02/05/14 2:22 pm

Ok, can someone post a link to the two bills or the website?

VirtualCongress Speaker NDAmerican
02/05/14 2:24 pm

Patience young grasshopper. I had to go find them. I couldn't find one of them for a few minutes, haha.