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Opening Arguments

Psst, guess what?

I think this is what we call a "done deal":

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is inappropriately signaling it intends to clear the way for gay marriage across the nation, Justice Clarence Thomas complained Monday in a stinging dissent to the court's refusal to block the start of same-sex marriages in Alabama.

Bitterly objecting to Monday's action, Thomas provided a rare insider's perspective on the widely held view that the court's embrace of gay marriage is a done deal.

Thomas filed a dissenting opinion after his colleagues rejected Alabama's plea to put a hold on same-sex marriages in the state until the Supreme Court resolves the issue nationwide in a few months.

He criticized his fellow justices for looking "the other way as yet another federal district judge casts aside state laws," rather than following the customary course of leaving those laws in place until the court answers an important constitutional question.

It's always risky to predict what the Supreme Court will do, but Thomas is almost certainly right here. The court already sent one signal on gay marriage, which has resulted in the number of states where gay and lesibian couples can marry nearly doubling, from 19 to 37. Considering what it has unleashed, it can hardly backtrack now. I'll go out even further on a limb and predict a 6-3 vote, with Chief Justice Roberts joining hair-splitter Kennedy and the four liberals. As he demonstrated in the "Obamacare is a tax" ruling, Roberts thinks too much about his "legacy" and not enough about what is right in front of him.

As for "inappropriate signaling," I'm not sure what's bad about that. When the court is going to take the country in a noticeably different direction, as Roe v. Wade did, as this will, a little head's up can be useful so people can get ready for the change.