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The Supreme Court will soon decide two important – and controversial – cases involving gay rights. The first case involves a Ninth Circuit decision in the Perry case which struck down a California voter initiative that defined marriage as between one man and one woman. The decision required California to recognize gay marriage under the equal protection clause. The second case involved a constitutional challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
This program will examine the history of the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on the equal protection clause in the context of gay right. It will examine the critical case of Romer v. Evans, where the Supreme Court considered a Colorado law that restricted the ability of gay rights’ advocates to seek to enact laws to protect their rights. The Court’s decision Romer will be critical to the resolution of the Perry and DOMA.
Thomas Metzloff is the faculty advisor to the Alaska Law Review which is published at Duke Law School. He is the producer of the documentaries, and the director of the Voices of American Law project. The goal of the project is to interview the parties, attorneys, experts, and judges who were involved in the development of important Supreme Court cases dealing with key constitutional values (such as the First Amendment, privacy rights, property rights). The interviews are then used to create detailed documentaries that are being widely used in law schools and other educational settings to study Constitutional rights and values.
He began his professional career with a judicial clerkship on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, followed by a clerkship with the Supreme Court of the United States. He then practiced with a private firm in Atlanta doing civil litigation matters before accepting a position at Duke Law School in 1985. He teaches civil procedure, ethics, and dispute resolution, as well as a specialized course on the American legal system for international LLM students. He has taught that course regularly at Duke's Geneva and Hong Kong summer institutes as well as at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He served as the Law School's senior associate dean for academic affairs from 1998-2001, and currently serves as a member of the executive committee of Duke University's Academic Council.