The Mississippi Supreme Court on Thursday acknowledged the divorce of a same-sex couple under Obergefell v. Hodges, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.
In the process, two justices made claims that states may not have to follow U.S. Supreme Court rulings when they believe the court is creating policy as opposed to interpreting the law.
Five justices agreed with the ruling, consisting of just four paragraphs, that same-sex divorce is legal and should be recognized. Remaining Justices Jess Dickinson, Leslie King, Josiah Coleman and Jim Kitchens objected.
Dickinson acknowledged in his dissent, signed by Coleman, that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of same-sex marriage and state Attorney General Jim Hood has informed the court that, following Obergefell v. Hodges, he finds Mississippi’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Dickinson, however, goes on to question whether the U.S. Supreme Court exceeded the authority of its court.
“And while it is true that the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution obligates state courts to follow the United States Supreme Court’s constitutional interpretations, even when they disagree with those interpretations, there is substantial support from legal scholars that state courts are not required to recognize as legitimate legal authority a Supreme Court decision that is no way a constitutional interpretation, but rather is a legislative act by a judicial body that is — as Chief Justice Roberts put it — a decision that “has no basis in the Constitution or (United States Supreme Court) precedent,” Dickinson writes.