Garrett Epps is covering the Kagan hearings. From yesterday's summary:

Charles Grassley (R-IA) asked, "Do you believe that marriage is a question reserved for the states to decide?" This question, Kagan pointed out, was the subject of a high-profile suit now in the courts, making comment improper. Then Grassley asked whether she considered a 1970 case on the issue, Baker v. Nelson "settled law."

Baker v. Nelson was an early case claiming that banning same-sex marriage violated the Constitution. The Minnesota Supreme Court held it did not, and they appealed to the Supreme Court, which dismissed their appeal in one sentence for "want of a substantial federal question." Kagan (and I, in the background) brightened at yet another nerd opportunity. "The view that most people hold I think is that (such a summary dismissal) is entitled to some precedential weight but not to the weight that would be given to a fully argued fully briefed case," she began, clearly ready for a long talk. Enough of that. "I'm disappointed that you didn't use the world 'settled law,'" Grassley said, and moved on.

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