Supreme Court Gay Marriage 101

The ways of the Supreme Court are mysterious. The body operates with lots of protocol that doesn't necessarily make sense to outside viewers, so here's a couple of things you may see throughout the morning, and what they mean.

-The court announces opinions in reverse order of seniority. Elena Kagan, if she writes a decision, would be the first to release it. John Roberts, the chief justice, is automatically the most senior, so he'd be the last.

-The court places out cardboard boxes for opinions to be placed in. Not necessarily one opinion per box, but more boxes correlates to more opinions. Today the court has placed out three cardboard boxes.

-Traditionally, opinions and dissents are released to the press. Occasionally, a justice will read a dissent aloud from the bench — a sign that they're VERY unhappy with the majority's decision. Justice Ginsburg is known to do this often (and in fact did it yesterday with the Voting Rights Act decision). If Justice Scalia (who is — real talk — not a fan of the gays) is on the losing side of today's decision, expect him to read a fiery dissent as well.

With all that said, predicting what will happen on the court has historically been a crapshoot. It's been said that three organizations do pageantry better than anyone else in the world: the Catholic Church, the British monarchy, and the New York Yankees. On days like today SCOTUS is a solid runner-up.

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Jordan Fraade

Jordan Fraade is an Associate Politics Editor at PolicyMic. Working on the Publishing team, he edits and proofreads PM's politics and international-relations articles. Outside interests include history, urbanism and city planning, politics, media, and the Spanish-speaking world. Tireless consumer of Indian food, ice cream, and music. Last name rhymes with "Todd."

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