The dramatic shift in public opinion on same-sex marriage is likely to affect the Supreme Courtâ€™s historic rulings on the issue later this month, say legal scholars.
The justices often say they do not worry at all about politics or public opinion, and simply do what they believe the law compels them to.
But it will be hard if not impossible for them ignore the enormous transformation in opinion on same sex marriage, court watchers say, especially with two cases that offer them flexibility in how to rule.
â€œI have to think the justices â€” and especially the chief â€” are very cognizant of the shifting public opinion,â€ said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond.â€¨â€¨
The justices arenâ€™t driven by polling the way elected lawmakers are, but they are often mindful of the courtâ€™s credibility. Chief Justice John Roberts, in particular, has shown himself to be an â€œinstitutionalistâ€ who wants to protect the courtâ€™s legitimacy, Tobias said. That was clear in last yearâ€™s decision on ObamaCare.
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