The Supreme Court's term is over, with 75 cases having been argued and decided. It's safe to say that the most significant ones were those decided this week, on the politically fraught subjects of affirmative action, the Voting Rights Act and gay marriage. I'm extremely proud that Cato was on the winning side of each of these issues. In fact, we were the only organization to file briefs supporting the challengers on each one (Fisher v. UT-Austin, Shelby County v. Holder, Windsor v. United States & Perry v. Hollingsworth).
That says a lot. Not that the Supreme Court always takes its guidance from us - would that it were so! - but that we're consistent in embracing the Constitution's structural and rights-based protections for individual freedom and self-governance. It's gratifying that the Supreme Court saw it our way in those "big" cases, even if Fisher was an extremely narrow decision and the others were all 5-4.
But that's not all. After finishing my commentary on Windsor and Perry last night, I was curious to see how we did overall, beyond the high-profile cases. It turns out that we went 15-3 on the year. That is, looking purely at briefs we filed on the merits - you can see our record on briefs supporting cert petitions here - the Supreme Court ruled our way 15 times and against us three (and I can assure you that we don't pick cases strategically to inflate our winning percentage. (I don't count Perry in either column, by the way. While we ended up with a favorable result, Prop 8 struck down, the Court decided the case on standing grounds, incorrectly in my view).
Congratulations to Cato. That is an impressive record. I was especially impressed by Cato's stand--and the results--on the property rights cases.
I do have one concern and I admit up front that I haven't taken the time to carefully parse through the Windsor decision--which overturned the Defense of Marriage Act--and the various arguments for and against. The fact that Ilya Shapiro, Robert A. Levy, and Roger Pilon are on the side of the ultimate winner causes me--this is a straight argument from authority (and reputation), I admit--to favor the winner. On the other hand, in our sister blog, the Library of Law and Liberty, another legal scholar I respect, Michael S. Greve, has a very different view, and that gives me pause. That's also, on my part, an argument from authority and reputation.