I see by my mild defense of Roberts, I’ve made myself a friendly target and in bringing up the inevitable Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, I’ve distracted from the implications of the Obamacare ruling. That was not my intent, but here we are.
To Mr. Kirkwood: I think your characterization of Roberts assistance on a large pro bono matter at a large Washington law firm, Hogan & Hartson, is misleading. Roberts did not provide free advice to anyone. His firm did. Most large firms argue very few, if any, cases before the Supreme Court over the course of several years. Any law firm lucky enough to have Roberts in its employ and lucky enough to find itself arguing a groundbreaking case (regardless of which side) before the Supreme Court would naturally ask the resident expert for help. And as I understand it, Roberts offered some very discrete advice — taking no particular interest in the merits of the case — and could not even recall the case when asked about it on a questionnaire. Hardly persuasive evidence of an enthusiastic gay rights supporter.
To Mr. Piatak: I agree that the pressure on Roberts will be enormous to find a constitutional right to gay marriage, as I suspect most of his friends (i.e., the Washington elite–both Republican and Democrat) likely support it. But, as Roberts was reluctant to overturn a major piece of legislation by Congress, he will be more reluctant to overturn thousands of years of understanding across every civilization on what precisely a “marriage” is — particularly when the constitutional basis (including Supreme Court precedent) for overturning laws against gay marriage is so flimsy.