Case Milestone 1
Obergefell v. Hodges (decided on 26th June, 2015) (Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015)
Fourteen same sex couples and two men whose partners had deceased instituted this case raising the following issues. At the time of the decision, Chief Justice John Roberts was the chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. At the time of the decision, President Barack Obama was the presiding president of the United States of America. The issues, which were raised in the instant case may be summarised as follows;
- whether the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires States to grant to two consenting adults of same sex the licence to marry;
- whether the 14th Amendment to the Constitution requires a State to recognize a same sex marriage, which has been performed in a State, which grants such licence to marry? (Powell, Quadlin & Pizmony-Levy, 2015).
The instant decision has legalised same sex marriage in the United States of America. The court upheld that equality with respect to the right to marry has been enshrined under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. The ban on same sex marriage was found to be violation of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. It was observed by the Court that liberty has been promised to all citizens of the United States by the Constitution and the right to marry falls within the realm of this liberty. Consequently, laws of the States are being amended to incorporate same sex marriage rights (Pierceson, 2015).
Case Milestone 2
Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health 497 U.S. 261 (1990) (Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health, 1990)
In the instant case, she was hooked to a food and hydration tube in order to keep her alive but her parents asked the doctors to remove the tubes. However, the doctors in charge refused to remove the same without the approval of the court. It was observed by a State Court that Cruzan was entitled to a fundamental right of refusing unwanted medical treatment and the fact that previously she had expressed the desire to not live was evidence enough that she did not wish to under similar circumstances. Finally, the case appeared before the U.S Supreme Court. At the time of the decision, William Rehnquist was the chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. At the time of the decision, George Herbert Walker Bush was the presiding president of the United States of America. The issues, which were raised in the instant case may be summarised as follows;
- Whether Cruzan, a patient, who was transformed to a persistent vegetative state after an accident had the right to refuse unwanted medical treatment?
- Under the given circumstances, what standard of evidence would apply in determination of what Cruzan would wish her doctors to do?
The Supreme Court upheld that medical treatment should be continued unless there is clear and cogent evidence that the patient does not wish so. The State was required to carry on such life support as long as it seemed reasonable to do so. While the Constitution of the U.S grants a person the right to reject unwanted treatment, this case decided that States have the right to regulate the same if there are reasonable grounds for doing so (Popkin, 2012).
Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health, 497 U.S. 261 (Supreme Court 1990)
Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S.___ (Supreme Court 2015)
Pierceson, J. (2015). From Kameny to Kennedy: the road to the positive rights protection of marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges. Politics, Groups, And Identities, 1-8
Popkin, M. S. (2012). The Constitutional Litigation on Assisted Suicide: A Last Look Before the Supreme Court Decides (Keynote Address). Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development, 12(3), 14
Powell, B., Quadlin, N. Y., & Pizmony-Levy, O. (2015). Public Opinion, the Courts, and Same-sex Marriage Four Lessons Learned. Social Currents