In the Perry challenge to Prop. 8, the official Prop. 8 proponents filed a motion for summary judgment that Judge Vaugn Walker denied. They maintained that Baker v. Nelson, 409 U.S. 810 (1972), provides a binding precedent for deciding the merits of the case without a trial. They also maintained that no facts about gay and lesbians, or same-sex couples, have bearing on the appropriate standard of constitutional review, and that the state has a rational basis for limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples.
In this first of a two-part series, constitutional scholar Vikram Amar addresses arguments that U.S. Supreme Court's memorandum opinion in Baker represents binding precedent. He finds the arguments compelling, but in part two, will explain why he thinks a trial is necessary.
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