Passover in the Supreme Court

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Seder PlateAlthough Jewish law forbids working on the first two days of Passover, there is something appropriate about the Supreme Court’s using them to hold its two-day oral argument on the same-sex marriage cases.

The three Jewish justices (Ginsberg, Breyer, and Kagan) as well as my old friend Vicki Jackson–designated by the Court to argue the issue of standing in today’s DOMA case–can take satisfaction that they are spending our tradition’s great holiday of liberation helping to determine if a long disfavored minority will have the same rights as everyone else.

Of course, as the last three books of Moses tell, it can take a long time to get from oral argument to the promised land. Because of their grumbling, the Israelites were sentenced by God to 40 years wandering in the desert.  It’s been 43 years since the Stonewall riots kicked off the national gay rights movement.

No doubt, there will be plenty of grumbling if the Supreme Court decides anything less than marriage equality for gays and lesbians throughout the land. But it won’t take another 40 years to get there.