Act Two

Today’s Supreme Court oral arguments over the federal benefits portion of the Defense of Marriage Act will partially displace the post-mortem over yesterday’s oral arguments involving Prop 8, but will also help consummate what has become Same-Sex Marriage Week in the chattering classes.

You have to wonder if the exceptionally enhanced attention being paid to Supreme Court oral arguments these days is having an effect on the self-image of the Justices. Until very recently, this was Inside Baseball of the highest order; Clarence Thomas’ refusal to ask questions during arguments was a minor quirk rather than an ongoing scandal.

In any event, the Supremes get an Act Two this week before largely dropping out of public sight until June. Then we will discover if these performances were in fact drama or farce.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.