Amicus briefs in the same-sex marriage case [updated with information on an additional amicus brief by 15 state governments supporting the anti-same-sex marriage position]

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Legal scholar Ruthann Robson has a very helpful post at the Constitutional Law Prof Blog summarizing all 139 amicus briefs that have been filed in Obergefell v. Hodges, the same-sex marriage case currently before the Supreme Court.

I myself am the coauthor of one of the briefs, along with Northwestern University law professor Andrew Koppelman. On behalf of ourselves and a cross-ideological group of other legal scholars, we argue that the Court should strike down laws banning same-sex marriage because they discriminate on the basis of sex. I summarized our argument in greater detail in this post.

Links to many of the other briefs themselves are available at the SCOTUSblog website here.

It is striking that nineteen state governments have filed briefs supporting the pro-same-sex marriage side, but only two—Alabama and South Carolina—have weighed in on the other side [But see UPDATE below].

This imbalance is all the more notable in light of the fact that Republicans now control a majority of governorships and state attorney generals' offices. Obviously, the number of states supporting each side says very little about the underlying merits of the legal arguments. But it is an interesting indication of the relative political momentum behind the two sides.

UPDATE: I somehow missed this brief supporting laws banning same-sex marriage which was joined by fifteen state governments. That brings the total number of states supporting that side to seventeen, plus the four actually involved in the litigation. The number of state governments on each side is therefore roughly equal (19 for the petitioners and either 17 or 21 for the respondents, depending on how you count the states directly involved in the case). So it cannot be said that there is a significant imbalance in favor of one side or the other. I have cut some of the discussion of what I wrongly supposed to be an imbalance between the two sides, that I posted earlier, because that discussion turns out to be based on a false premise.

I apologize for my oversight.