Why Kennedy Will Back Gay Rights
He'll be thinking of legacy, and 50 years out this will be obviously right
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2010 11:08 AM CDT

(Newser) – Now that a federal judge has ruled in favor of overturning Proposition 8, all eyes are on the Supreme Court, and more specifically, on one man: Anthony Kennedy. The perennial swing voter seems likely to swing this case, too, and Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com thinks he’ll swing it in favor of gay rights. Intellectually, Kennedy could probably make an honest argument for either side, so Silver figures external factors will probably win out (despite, he notes, the fiction that external factors don't sway justices).

Kennedy will be 75 or 76 when the case reaches the Supreme Court, meaning he’ll probably be thinking about his legacy. “Given that, in 50 years time, American society will almost certainly regard the plaintiff’s position as the right one,” Kennedy will feel a push to vote that way. Ted Olson’s presence on the plaintiff’s side will help sway him, too. Olson is a noted conservative, who can convince Kennedy he’s on the right side of history.