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Laurence H. Tribe, Equal Dignity: Speaking its Name, 129 Harv. L. Rev. F. 16 (2015).

Abstract: In the aftermath of Obergefell, it quickly became a sign of sophistication to treat Justice Kennedy’s opinion with knowing condescension. The decision may have been a political masterstroke, many thought, but it was a doctrinal dud. Kenji Yoshino’s Comment demonstrates just how glib these detractions are, and eloquently explains how Kennedy’s opinions in Obergefell and its predecessor cases have revolutionized the Court’s fundamental rights jurisprudence. In this Response, I offer my own characterization of Kennedy’s contribution. As I see it, Obergefell’s chief jurisprudential achievement is to have wound the double helix of Due Process and Equal Protection into a doctrine of equal dignity – and to have located that doctrine in a tradition of constitutional interpretation as an exercise in public education. Equal dignity, a concept with a robust doctrinal pedigree, does not simply look back to purposeful past subordination, but rather lays the groundwork for an ongoing constitutional dialogue about fundamental rights and the meaning of equality. Obergefell is an important landmark, but it will not be – and should not be – the last word.