What Obergefell v. Hodges Should Have Said The Nation's Top Legal Experts Rewrite America's Same-Sex Marriage Decision Jack M. Balkin

Publication date:
12 Jan 2021
Yale University Press
400 pages: 235 x 156 x 25mm
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Rewriting the Supreme Court’s landmark gay rights decision

Jack Balkin and an all-star cast of legal scholars, sitting as a hypothetical Supreme Court, rewrite the famous 2015 opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, which guaranteed same-sex couples the right to marry. In eleven incisive opinions, the authors offer the best constitutional arguments for and against the right to same-sex marriage, and debate what Obergefell should mean for the future.
In addition to serving as Chief Justice of this imaginary court, Balkin provides a critical introduction to the case. He recounts the story of the gay rights litigation that led to Obergefell, and he explains how courts respond to political mobilizations for new rights claims. The social movement for gay rights and marriage equality is a powerful example of how—through legal imagination and political struggle—arguments once dismissed as “off-the-wall” can later become established in American constitutional law.

Jack M. Balkin is Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School. He is the founder and director of Yale’s Information Society Project and directs the Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression at Yale.

“Jack Balkin has gathered a terrific group of constitutional scholars to debate a fundamental issue: same-sex marriage. This is a great introduction to the confounding question of how Americans  should interpret their Constitution in today's world.”—Geoffrey R. Stone, author of Sex and the Constitution

"By including a wide spectrum of voices and social movement perspectives, this book provides an extraordinary case study of how constitutional law and politics can produce starkly different social meanings of such fundamental concepts as marriage and equality."—Nan D. Hunter, Georgetown University

“This engaging and thought-provoking book features a wide range of scholarly views about marriage, constitutional liberty and equality, and the roads not taken in Obergefell.”— Mary L. Bonauto, attorney at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)