Supreme Court rules for gay marriage in two cases, ends term

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court handed supporters of gay marriage a pair of victories Wednesday on the final day of its term. The Supreme Court ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and determined that it could not rule on California’s Proposition 8. Both decisions were 5-4. In United States v. Windsor, the DOMA case, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said the act violated the equal protection clause of the Fifth Amendment. DOMA, enacted in 1996, defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

Affirmative action returned to lower court, Title VII of Civil Rights Act further defined

WASHINGTON – In a day full of discrimination decisions, the Supreme Court sent an affirmative action case back to a lower court and ruled on a critical aspect of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The court did not decide whether the University of Texas at Austin acted unconstitutionally in using race as a factor for admissions, leaving the debate over affirmative action unresolved. Justices said that the university must prove to an appeals court that using affirmative action in its admissions process achieves educational benefits from diversity. Essentially, the school must define its criteria for using affirmative action before a decision can be reached. “The particular admissions process used for this objective is subject to judicial review.