IIT Chicago-Kent's Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States releases materials on upcoming same-sex marriage cases

Multimedia guide and open forum will aid public understanding of the March 26 and 27 arguments

Monday, March 25, 2013

IIT Chicago-Kent's Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States (ISCOTUS) and its Oyez Project have produced materials related to two same-sex marriage cases to coincide with the U.S. Supreme Court's hearings March 26 and 27 of Hollingsworth v. Perry, a challenge to California's Proposition 8, and United States v. Windsor, a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The materials are designed to increase public information and understanding of the Supreme Court and the issues involved in these cases.

"The highlight of our materials is a series of eight videos geared to a general audience that explain the issues and provide context," said IIT Chicago-Kent professor and ISCOTUS director Carolyn Shapiro. "We have worked in tandem with our Oyez Project to generate accessible content for a wide audience."

Professor Shapiro is joined by five more IIT Chicago-Kent faculty members in six videos that provide background information, pose pertinent questions, and explain the issues the justices will consider. These include an examination of same-sex marriage issues in an historical/legal context, overviews of Proposition 8 and DOMA, an explanation of standing and jurisdiction issues, and a discussion of equal protection under the law.

No discussion of these cases would be complete without a look at the political and social environment in which they are being heard. In separate videos, Laura Brill of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund (Lambda Legal) and John Eastman of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) present the activists' view of the issues.

The videos can be viewed on the web at www.oyez.org/ssm.

"Our 'deep dive' presentation of these cases also includes a comprehensive timeline with the texts of Proposition 8 and DOMA, key documents from the lower courts cases, U.S. Supreme Court documents-including all the merits and amici briefs," said Professor Jerry Goldman, director of the Oyez Project. "In addition, the court will release same-day audio for the March 26 and 27 arguments. We will provide synchronized audio and transcripts."

The Oyez Project has also produced two apps for those who prefer to have information at their fingertips. PocketJustice provides instant access to Oyez's content for all landmark Supreme Court constitutional law cases—including oral arguments, opinions and case summaries. The Pocket Justice app is available for iPhone and iPad for 99 cents.  

ISCOTUSnow, a joint project of Oyez and ISCOTUS, is a free app for iPhone and iPad that provides video commentary on current U.S. Supreme Court cases, as well as access to Oyez's collection of oral arguments, opinions and case summaries.

On March 27, the day arguments before the justices have been concluded, ISCOTUS will co-sponsor the "Forum on Same-Sex Marriage and the Supreme Court," a free public discussion of the cases. The program will begin at 3 p.m. in IIT Chicago-Kent's Governor Richard B. Ogilvie Auditorium, 565 West Adams Street (between Clinton and Jefferson streets), in Chicago.

Established in 2011, the Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States combines the law school's core strengths: cutting-edge legal scholarship and technological innovation. Its Oyez Project leverages information technology to make materials related to the U.S. Supreme Court instantly accessible around the world. The website, www.oyez.org, provides immediate access to nearly 10,000 hours of courtroom audio and has added merits briefs and amici briefs to its already comprehensive database.

Founded in 1888, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law is celebrating "125 years of distinctive legal education." IIT Chicago-Kent is the law school of Illinois Institute of Technology, a private, Ph.D.-granting institution with programs in engineering, psychology, architecture, business, design and law.

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