Obergefell v. Hodges decided in 2015 was a landmark case that answered two questions: (i) does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex, and (ii) does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex that was legally licensed and performed in another state (Obergefell v. Hodges)? In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court answered both questions in the affirmative. Particularly relevant to the majority’s reasoning in deciding this case is Ronald Dworkin’s theory on judicial decisions from Hard Cases, a case not settled by precedent. Dworkin utilizes concepts such as the rights thesis and the doctrine of political responsibility to formulate his theory of adjudication. The rights thesis states that justices can make decisions that enforce existing rights. The doctrine of political responsibility ensures justices make consistent decisions. Viewing the law through principle rather than policy, Ronald Dworkin utilizes the rights thesis and the doctrine of political responsibility to assemble his theory of adjudication. Through an analysis of Dworkin’s theory of adjudication, this paper will show how Dworkin’s principles are found in the majority’s reasoning in Obergefell v. Hodges.
"Ronald Dworkin’s Theory of Adjudication as Applied to Obergefell v. Hodges,"
Locus: The Seton Hall Journal of Undergraduate Research: Vol. 5, Article 7.
Available at: https://scholarship.shu.edu/locus/vol5/iss1/7