The Use and Abuse of Definitions in Constitutional Law: A Critique of Justice Roberts's Dissent in Obergefell v. Hodges

Alec D. Walen
Justice Roberts's dissent in Obergefell v Hodges – the case in which the US Supreme Court found a constitutional right for same sex couples to marry – rested on the premise the Court cannot invoke the right to marry as a basis for changing the definition of marriage. But his argument works only if the Court has no obligation to find a constitutional meaning for the term. I argue here that it has such an obligation. I argue further that an analogy with the concept of 'person' throws light on how
more » ... that obligation should work. And finally, I argue that the most plausible constitutional definition would include same sex couples.
doi:10.7282/t34f1tvb fatcat:turgu57f3ng6ncy6pvmlnf2nga