Who ARE the Supreme Court Justices?

Who ARE the Supreme Court Justices?

Berlin Sylvestre, Staff Writer

The Supreme Court is expected to rule tomorrow and it’s anyone’s guess which way the winds will blow. The Supreme Court justices don’t (always) vote predictably, so it’s kinda fun to try your hand at guessing.

After all, the nine individuals who comprise SCOTUS are actual human beings who come from a variety of backgrounds, both personal and political.

While no one can predict how each member will vote, here are some quick facts about each, as well as some of their responses during the Prop 8 and DOMA oral arguments, so you can take your best guess:

robertsChief Justice John Roberts: Conservative, encyclopedic knowledge of the law, flexible.

Concerning same-sex marriage: During hearings on DOMA, Roberts asked Ted Olson, the attorney in support of marriage equality: “You don’t doubt that the lobby supporting the enactment of same sex-marriage laws in different states is politically powerful, do you? As far as I can tell, political figures are falling over themselves to endorse your side of the case.”



scaliaAntonin Scalia: Conservative, inquisitive, BFFs with Ruth Bader Ginsberg (a liberal justice).

Concerning same-sex marriage: During hearings on DOMA, Scalia also addressed Olson, asking: “When did it become unconstitutional to exclude homosexual couples from marriage?” (Olson’s response: “When did it become unconstitutional to prohibit interracial marriages?” Boom!)



kennedyAnthony Kennedy: Often the swing voter for tough decisions, sides more with liberals on gay issues, a libertarian idol.

Concerning same-sex marriage: During hearings on DOMA, the question on Kennedy’s mind was whether prohibitions on same-sex marriage are a form of gender discrimination, acknowledges an “immediate” legal harm to the children of same-sex couples who cannot be married.



thomasClarence Thomas: Most conservative justice, usually aligns with Justice Scalia, doesn’t speak much — especially to press.

Concerning same-sex marriage: Justice Thomas was characteristically silent during the DOMA and Prop 8 oral arguments, but appeared to agree with the other conservative justices that the case should go forward.


ginsburgRuth Bader Ginsburg: Liberal, feisty, fan of gender equality.

Concerning same-sex marriage: Though quiet on the issue of marriage equality, Ginsburg has been quoted in the past: “If you’re writing a constitution today, are you going to look back at an 18th century model?”



breyerStephen Breyer: Mostly liberal, pragmatic, doesn’t interpret the constitution in absolute literal terms.

Concerning same-sex marriage: During oral arguments for Prop 8, Breyer dropped this bomb: “There are lots of people who get married who can’t have children. What is the justification for saying no gay marriage?”



alitoSamuel Alito: Conservative with a liberal streak,  the only dissenting opinion on the Westboro free speech ruling, usually aligns with Scalia.

Concerning same-sex marriage: During oral arguments for DOMA, Alita told Cooper: “You want us to step in and render a decision based on an assessment of the effects of [gay marriage] which is newer than cell phones or the internet.”


sotoSonia Sotomayor: A newer justice, seen as liberal, normally votes with Ginsburg and Breyer.

Concerning same-sex marriage: During the oral arguments for DOMA, Sotomayor asked Cooper: “Can you think of any other rational basis, reason, for a state using sexual orientation as a factor in denying homosexuals benefits or imposing burdens on them?”



kaganElena Kagan: Newest member, Ivy-Leaguer, served as policy adviser under Clinton.

Concerning same-sex marriage: To back up Justice Breyer on the ‘marriage is for having children’ argument, Kagan added: “I can just assure you, if both the woman and the man are over the age of fifty-five, there are not a lot of children coming out of that marriage.” (Bonus fact: No one on the bench is in a marriage that would allow for natural pro-creation.)



So it’s anyone’s guess really, but I’m sure you (just like the staff here at FENUXE) are hoping SCOTUS will settle this once and for all … and that the gavel will drop on the side of equality.

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