Part of complete coverage from
How will the Supreme Court decide the Culture Wars?
June 22, 2013 -- Updated 1631 GMT (0031 HKT)
- Jeffrey Toobin joins "Big Three" to discuss the week ahead for the Supreme Court
- Dean Obeidallah, John Avlon, Margaret Hoover weigh in on how the justices will rule
- Expect rulings on gay rights and marriage, the Voting Rights Act and affirmative action
Editor's note: John Avlon, a CNN contributor and senior political columnist for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, is the author of "Independent Nation" and "Wingnuts." He won the National Society of Newspaper Columnists' award for best online column in 2012.
(CNN) -- This week on the "Big Three" prodcast we talked with our special guest, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, about the momentous upcoming week for the Supreme Court.
With 11 decisions left and just one week in the month of June to complete their rulings, the Supreme Court has held the most anticipated cases until the bitter end. Among these are rulings on gay rights, same sex marriage, the Voting Rights Act and affirmative action. This is the moment where the Supreme Court weighs in on the Culture Wars. Intense debate and some inevitable outrage seem sure to follow.
Toobin, author of "The Nine and the Oath" as well as a writer for The New Yorker, points out that Chief Justice John Roberts seems focused on building a more colorblind society as a core part of his court legacy. That means decisions regarding affirmative action and the special status of southern states in the Voting Rights Act could move in directions that would upset liberals and African-Americans in particular.
But Toobin cautions against buying into knee-jerk characterizations and politicizations of complex decisions. In particular, he points out that the Voting Rights Act will not be repealed or fundamentally gutted if conservative justices carry the day in the case brought by Shelby County, Alabama, arguing essentially that the requirements relevant to the 1960s desegregation no long apply.
On the court's return to the question of affirmative action, one Roberts quote from 2007 looms large over the decision: "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."
John Avlon, Margaret Hoover and Dean Obeidallah
Perhaps the preeminent civil rights fight of our time is the gay rights movement, and two cases on this front promise to capture the most attention. The first is regarding the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, passed by Congress in the 1990s. The second concerns the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, which banned same sex marriages at the ballot box. Many close court observers believe that DOMA will be repealed while Prop 8 might be punted on standing.
This means that Dean's hope for a broad Loving v. Virginia type decision -- which outlawed state laws banning interracial marriage in the late 1960s -- might be thwarted for the time being. Margaret has been actively following this court case from its inception in California, where legendary conservative jurist Ted OIson banded with legendary liberal lawyer David Boies to argue that marriage is a basic civil right for all Americans.
This kind of bipartisan partnership based on deep principles rather than politics is a model for how to end the Culture Wars, whatever the results of this specific Supreme Court decision.
Whatever your personal politics, listen to Toobin jam with us on the "Big Three" as a curtain-raiser for the pivotal week ahead. These cases will affect all Americans, and by listening to this podcast you'll get up to speed, ready to debate the issues and analyze the landmark decisions delivered by the highest court in the land.
Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.
Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John Avlon.
Part of complete coverage on
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 1221 GMT (2021 HKT)
Carlos Moreno says atheists, a sizable fraction of Americans, deserve representation in Congress.
August 31, 2014 -- Updated 1625 GMT (0025 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says Democrats and unions have a long history of mutual support that's on the decline. But in a time of income inequality they need each other more than ever
August 31, 2014 -- Updated 0423 GMT (1223 HKT)
Peter Bergen says Admiral William McRaven leaves the military with a legacy of strategic thinking about special operations
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1611 GMT (0011 HKT)
Leon Aron says the U.S. and Europe can help get Russia out of Ukraine by helping Ukraine win its just war, sharing defense technologies and intelligence
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1724 GMT (0124 HKT)
Timothy Stanley the report on widespread child abuse in a British town reveals an institutional betrayal by police, social services and politicians. Negligent officials must face justice
August 30, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
Peter Bergen and David Sterman say a new video of an American suicide bomber shows how Turkey's militant networks are key to jihadists' movement into Syria and Iraq. Turkey must stem the flow
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 1554 GMT (2354 HKT)
Whitney Barkley says many for-profit colleges deceive students, charge exorbitant tuitions and make false promises
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1434 GMT (2234 HKT)
Mark O'Mara says the time has come to decide whether we really want police empowered to shoot those they believe are 'fleeing felons'
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1432 GMT (2232 HKT)
Bill Frelick says a tool of rights workers is 'naming and shaming,' ensuring accountability for human rights crimes in conflicts. But what if wrongdoers know no shame?
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
Jay Parini says, no, a little girl shouldn't fire an Uzi, but none of should have easy access to guns: The Second Amendment was not written to give us such a 'right,' no matter what the NRA says
August 30, 2014 -- Updated 1722 GMT (0122 HKT)
Terra Ziporyn Snider says many adolescents suffer chronic sleep deprivation, which can indeed lead to safety problems. Would starting school an hour later be so wrong?
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1330 GMT (2130 HKT)
Peggy Drexler says after all the celebrity divorces, it's tempting to ask the question. But there are still considerable benefits to getting hitched
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1849 GMT (0249 HKT)
The death of Douglas McAuthur McCain, the first American killed fighting for ISIS, highlights the pull of Syria's war for Western jihadists, writes Peter Bergen.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 2242 GMT (0642 HKT)
Former ambassador to Syria Robert Ford says the West should be helping moderates in the Syrian armed opposition end the al-Assad regime and form a government to focus on driving ISIS out
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says a great country does not deport thousands of vulnerable, unaccompanied minors who fled in fear for their lives
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
Robert McIntyre says Congress is the culprit for letting Burger King pay lower taxes after merging with Tim Hortons.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 2335 GMT (0735 HKT)
Wesley Clark says the U.S. can offer support to its Islamic friends in the region most threatened by ISIS, but it can't fight their war
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 2053 GMT (0453 HKT)
America's painful struggle with racism has often brought great satisfaction to the country's rivals, critics, and foes. The killing of Michael Brown and its tumultuous aftermath has been a bonanza.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1919 GMT (0319 HKT)
Rick Martin says the death of Robin Williams brought back memories of his own battle facing down depression as a young man
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1558 GMT (2358 HKT)
David Perry asks: What's the best way for police officers to handle people with psychiatric disabilities?
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 1950 GMT (0350 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says it's not crazy to think Mitt Romney would be able to end up at the top of the GOP ticket in 2016
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 2052 GMT (0452 HKT)
Roxanne Jones and her girlfriends would cheer from the sidelines for the boys playing Little League. But they really wanted to play. Now Mo'ne Davis shows the world that girls really can throw.
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 2104 GMT (0504 HKT)
Kimberly Norwood is a black mom who lives in an affluent neighborhood not far from Ferguson, but she has the same fears for her children as people in that troubled town do
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 2145 GMT (0545 HKT)
It apparently has worked for France, say Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider, but carries uncomfortable risks. When it comes to kidnappings, nations face grim options.
Today's five most popular stories