The United States Supreme Court has overruled the Alabama state Supreme Court which refused to recognize a lesbian couple’s legal adoption rights.
The couple in question secured their right to adopt in the state of Georgia but the Alabama state Supreme Court refused to recognize that adoption because it was established in 2007 and, at the time, Alabama would not have recognized it.
The U.S. Supreme Court voided the Alabama court’s ruling today by reminding them that they don’t have jurisdiction over legal matters in other states.
Not so, the Supreme Court ruled. “A state may not disregard the judgment of a sister state because it disagrees with the reasoning underlying the judgment or deems it to be wrong on the merits,” its reversal said. Rather, Alabama must give “full faith and credit” to the Georgia court’s decision.
As Zack Ford at ThinkProgress points out, today’s was ruling was remarkable in that it wasn’t remarkable. No one on the Supreme Court issued a dissent.
What is perhaps most remarkable about Monday’s decision is how unremarkable it is. It was a per curiam decision, which means it was unsigned, and no justice noted a dissent. Furthermore, it did not actually rely on Obergefell at all and did not address the merits of same-sex adoption. It closed the case by treating E.L. and V.L. like any other couple, regardless of their sexual orientation.
I have to wonder if Justice Scalia’s absence is already having a major impact. Today’s positive ruling follows another ruling last week which allowed the EPA’s mercury pollution rules to take effect.
People who are far more knowledgeable about the court than I am have opined that his presence and his habit of asking absurd questions during oral arguments effectively strengthened the conservative side of the court’s positions. He’s not there to talk about broccoli or applesauce anymore.