The Supreme Court won't duck the issue of same-sex marriage the next time a case comes to the court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says.
The 81-year-old Ginsburg said in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday that she expects a same-sex marriage case to be heard and decided by June 2016, and possibly a year earlier.
Attitudes have changed swiftly in favor of same-sex marriage, which is now legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia, Ginsburg said in her wood-paneled office on the court's main floor.
She predicted that the justices would not delay ruling as they did on interracial marriage bans, which were not formally struck down until 1967.
"I think the court will not do what they did in the old days when they continually ducked the issue of miscegenation," Ginsburg said. "If a case is properly before the court, they will take it."
The comment marked something of a change for Ginsburg, who previously had been seen as wary about the court getting too far ahead of the country in ruling on major social issues.
The justices decided two same-sex marriage cases in June 2013. Ginsburg was in the majority to strike down part of the anti-gay marriage Defense of Marriage Act. She also was part of a court majority that declined to rule on the merits of California's Proposition 8 that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. The effect of the decision was to allow same-sex unions to resume in California, but the high court said nothing about the right to marry.
Appeals courts in Denver and Richmond, Virginia, have upheld lower court rulings striking down state constitutional bans on same-sex marriage. Any of those cases could make their way to the Supreme Court in the coming months.
Ginsburg also addressed two cases decided by the court in June that affect the rights of women. In one, she defended the court's ruling that struck down the 35-foot, protest-free zone on sidewalks outside Massachusetts abortions clinics.
"It was not a compromise decision but a good decision to say yes, you can regulate, but it is speech so you have to be careful not to go too far," Ginsburg said. While all the justices said the 35-foot buffer zone violated the Constitution, Ginsburg joined Chief Justice John Roberts and the court's other liberal justices to strike down the buffer zone on narrower grounds than the other, more conservative justices wanted.
In the other case, Ginsburg and her liberal colleagues dissented from a decision that allows for-profit corporations, such as the Hobby Lobby chain of crafts stores, to assert religious objections to paying for contraceptives for women, as required under President Barack Obama's health care law.
"I have no doubt that if the court had been composed of nine women the result would have been different in Hobby Lobby," Ginsburg said.
She said, though, that she hasn't lost hope for the five men on the court who formed the majority in favor of Hobby Lobby. "As long as one lives, one can learn," she said.
Ginsburg has served on the court since 1993. She was nominated by President Bill Clinton. She said feels she can still do the job well and rebuffed suggestions that she should retire now so President Barack Obama can appoint a like-minded successor.
"Right now, I don't see any sign that I'm less able to do the job," she said.
She directed a feisty response to law professors Randall Kennedy of Harvard Law School and Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the law school at the University of California at Irvine, who have called on her to step down now.
"So who do you think could be nominated now that would get through the Senate that you would rather see on the court than me?" she said.
A man has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon after harassing and allegedly stabbing a transgender teen on a Washington D.C. metro line during rush hour yesterday.
A 15-year-old transgender teen was reportedly taking the Green Line Metro in D.C. around 4:30 p.m. yesterday when 24-year-old Reginald Anthony Klaiber approached the teen and her group of friends and began harassing her for her appearance. Klaiber then allegedly stabbed the teen with a knife before being maced by one of her friends.
"This crazy man got on the train and he.. was at my friend like, 'you're ugly.. are you a man?'" one of the teen's friends notes in the above video. "He pulled out a knife and stabbed my friend. And that's when I maced him."
While transgender visibility is certainly making strides within mainstream cultural consciousness, transgender people still face disproportionate levels of violence compared to other members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. A recent report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs found that transgender people, particularly transgender people of color, are among the groups at the highest risk for experiencing violence.
In addition to being charged with assault with a deadly weapon, Klaiber will also reportedly be held to D.C.'s new enhanced penalties for hate-motivated crimes. The teen reportedly sustained non-life threatening injuries and spent the night in the hospital.
Margot Adler, one of the signature voices on NPR's airwaves for more than three decades, died Monday at her home in New York City. She was 68 and had been battling cancer.
Margot joined the NPR staff as a general assignment reporter in 1979. She went on to cover everything from the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic to confrontations involving the Ku Klux Klan in Greensboro, N.C., to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
"Her reporting was singular and her voice distinct," Margaret Low Smith, NPR's vice president for news, said in an announcement to staff. "There was almost no story that Margot couldn't tell."
The granddaughter of renowned Viennese psychiatrist Alfred Adler, Margot was born in Little Rock, Ark., but spent most of her life in Manhattan.
More recently, Margot reported for NPR's Arts Desk. She landed the first U.S. radio interview with author J.K. Rowling, and she recently released Out for Blood, a meditation on society's fascination with vampires.
that research for the book began when her husband of 33 years was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
"He was the healthiest man on the planet, I mean literally," Margot said. "You know, he was a runner. Unlike me, he'd never done any drugs in the '60s. He'd never smoked. He ate perfectly, you know, one of these people. And he only lived nine months."
During that time, Margot read 260 vampire novels.
"Basically I started out, it was a meditation on mortality and death, and I started realizing that some of the different attitudes that he and I had about death, he was definitely kind of the high-tech guy, rage, rage, rage, you know, take every supplement, blah, blah, blah, blah," she said. "And I was kind of more like we're all part of the life process, you know."
Margot had a long-standing interest in the occult. "Margot was not only a brilliant reporter, she was also a Wiccan priestess and a leader in the Pagan community," Low Smith notes. "That was deeply important to her, and she wrote a seminal book about that world: Drawing Down the Moon. She also wrote a memoir called Heretic's Heart."
In a note she sent to NPR's staff last week, Margot explained that she had been fighting cancer for 3 1/2 years. Until three months ago, she had been relatively symptom-free.
What began as endometrial cancer had metastasized to several parts of her body.
"She leaves behind her 23-year-old son, Alex Dylan Glideman-Adler, who was by her side caring for her throughout her illness," Low Smith notes.
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has appealed a federal judge's ruling striking down Colorado's ban on gay marriage.
U.S. District Judge Raymond P. Moore on Wednesday declared the ban invalid but stayed the ruling until Monday, August 25.
Suthers, a Republican, did not oppose the injunction but asked Moore to delay implementation until the Supreme Court has ruled in a separate case challenging Utah's ban.
Suthers' office filed a notice of appeal to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver shortly after Moore handed down his ruling.
“We are gratified Judge Moore agreed with us that additional litigation in that court would be wasteful given that our laws' status will be decided by the Supreme Court's decision in the Utah case,” Suthers said in a statement.
While the Utah case was the first appealed to the Supreme Court, dozens of cases from across the country are wending their way through federal courts. The high court is not required to take any case.
The Tenth Circuit's decision in the Utah case prompted plaintiffs – six gay and lesbian couples – to challenge Colorado's ban.
A federal judge ruled Colorado's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional but stayed implementation of his ruling until a higher court can weigh in, leaving the fate of couples who have continued to obtain marriage licenses up in the air.
The judge's ruling Wednesday came in the case of six same-sex couples who sued over the state's Constitutional ban on gay marriage.
"As previously discussed, on the state of the record currently before the court, it is plaintiffs who have shown a likelihood of success on the merits; it is plaintiffs who suffer irreparable harm if Colorado's unconstitutional same-sex marriage ban is not enjoined; and it is plaintiffs to whom the balance of harm and the public interest favor," Judge Raymond Moore wrote in his order.
A higher federal court earlier last month ruled Utah's similar ban unconstitutional, and several Colorado county clerks began issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, arguing that ruling applied to Colorado.
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has repeatedly asked federal courts to clarify the situation, saying the piecemeal approach across the state is creating "chaos" over whether the licenses issued to same-sex couples are legally valid.
Suthers persuaded county clerks in Denver and Pueblo to stop issuing licenses to same-sex couples, but Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall has continued to grant them. Neither Hall nor Suthers could immediately be reached Wednesday afternoon.
"Judge Moore did the right thing today, faithfully upholding both the Constitution and Colorado values," Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, said in a statement. "This is the second court decision in favor of the freedom to marry just in Colorado -- and across the country, judge after judge, court after court, in state after state have all examined the evidence and sifted through the arguments and concluded that the denial of marriage to same-sex couples cannot stand. It's time for the state attorney general to stop spending taxpayer money to defend the indefensible and allow gay couples to wed now."
Moore stayed implementation of his order striking down the state's ban until Aug. 24, giving the state time to appeal to either the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court.