By effectively upholding a lower court ruling against Alabama's homosexual marriage ban, the Supreme Court has likely tipped its hand about what the outcome will be when it rules on the issue this spring, The New York Times said Monday.
That clearly troubled Justice Clarence Thomas, who said the Court had all but issued its decision by failing to intervene in the Alabama case.
Thomas filed a blistering dissent, also signed by Justice Antonin Scalia, after his fellow justices rejected Alabama's plea to say no to gay marriage in the state until the Supreme Court issues its nationwide ruling in a few months.
Thomas blasted the court majority for looking "the other way as yet another federal district judge casts aside state laws," instead of continuing the longstanding practice of leaving those laws in place until the court rules on an important constitutional issue.
"This acquiescence may well be seen as a signal of the court's intended resolution of that question," Thomas wrote in an opinion that was joined by Justice Antonin Scalia. "This is not the proper way" for the court to carry out its role under the Constitution, he wrote, "and, it is indecorous for this court to pretend that it is."
The opinion was most remarkable for the sharply worded criticism of fellow justices, with Thomas calling the decision "yet another example of this court's increasingly cavalier attitude towards the states," adding that the high court has not "shown the people of Alabama the respect they deserve."
Thomas and Scalia also have been in dissent from the three major pro-gay rights decisions at the Supreme Court since 1996, all written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Associated Press noted.
In 2013, when the court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito also dissented.
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