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Articles

2015

Law and Politics

University of Pittsburgh School of Law

Constitutional nondefense

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Declining Controversial Cases: How Marriage Equality Changed The Paradigm, Elena Baylis Nov 2015

Declining Controversial Cases: How Marriage Equality Changed The Paradigm, Elena Baylis

Articles

Until recently, state attorneys general defended their states’ laws as a matter of course. However, one attorney general’s decision not to defend his state’s law in a prominent marriage equality case sparked a cascade of attorney general declinations in other marriage equality cases. Declinations have also increased across a range of states and with respect to several other contentious subjects, including abortion and gun control. This Essay evaluates the causes and implications of this recent trend of state attorneys general abstaining from defending controversial laws on the grounds that those laws are unconstitutional, focusing on the marriage equality cases as …