Editor's note:CBS News Associate Producer Jillian Hughes was in the court Friday for Justice Anthony Kennedy's reading of the majority opiniondeclaring same-sex marriage the law of the land, as well as Chief Justice Roberts' dissenting opinion in the case. In the 5-4 decision, all four dissenting justices wrote their own opinions.
Same-sex marriage plaintiff Jim Obergefell again showed up to be first in line to enter the courtroom today, accompanied by Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign. Being first didn't guarantee the two the best seats, though. They ended up in the center of the public section of the courtroom, a few rows back. Close to 10:00 a.m., other members of the public were seated in the empty rows in front of them, obscuring their view of the bench (and the media's view of them).
Mary Bonauto, the gay rights advocate who argued the case before the high court, was right up front, seated in the first row of the bar section. In the row behind her was James Esseks of the ACLU. Dep. Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Pam Karlan sat close by in a pink blazer.
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At 9:50 a.m., Solicitor General Donald Verrilli and Principal Deputy Solicitor General Ian Gershengorn entered and took seats up front, on the other side of the courtroom.
Retired Justice John Paul Stevens, sporting a red bow tie, sat in the VIP section
Voices were elevated, above the whisper typical for the court. The anticipation in the room was apparent. People seemed to be expecting the Obergefell decision. Today they wouldn't be disappointed.
At 10:01 a.m., the Justices entered and the courtroom stood, as a few remaining members of the public filtered in. Here are the highlights from inside the court:
Obergefell v. Hodges
Kennedy reads the majority opinion
At the announcement of the docket number, people shifted in their seats. The press could not see Obergefell, but Chad Griffin later told me that Obergefell quietly gasped and grabbed Griffin's hand. Justice Kennedy began, the "history of marriage is one of both continuity and change."
Justice Scalia sat back in his chair, shuffling through multiple pages of a printout.
"The past alone does not rule the present," Kennedy continued, and then referenced a past case, Lawrence v. Texas, which was decided on the same date (6/26) in 2003.
At 10:07 a.m., after six minutes of outlining the arguments, it came. Kennedy got to the key line. The Court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the "right to marry in all states."
A young woman in the first row of the public section held her hand to her heart, as if letting go a sigh of relief. Next to her, another young woman began to cry. Greg Bourke, one of the plaintiffs, started to tear up.
He wasn't alone. For the next four minutes, as Kennedy continued to read, the courtroom sniffled.
It felt in the room as if a wave of emotion was rising and had nowhere to break. No one could stand, or clap, or hug or yell in the court. Some quietly cried. Some quietly beamed.
The smiles disappeared when Chief Justice Roberts began his dissent at approximately 10:10 a.m.
Dissent: Chief Justice John Roberts
Roberts started by referencing the Kalahari Bushmen, the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs, saying the court was transforming a social institution that has been around for millennia.
"I have no choice but to dissent," he said.
The Court is not a legislature, he went on, and although, "the policy arguments for extending marriage to same-sex couples may be compelling, the legal arguments for requiring such an extension are not."
Kennedy held a finger to his lips and then began rocking back and forth in his chair.
Roberts went on, criticizing the majority for exercising "free-wheeling autonomy."
"The majority today relies on its own understanding of what freedom is and must become," he said. Ultimately, the deepest problem with their decision, he said, was "the disrespect it shows the democratic process."
There will be consequences, he said. "Closing debate is to close minds."
With this decision, proponents of same-sex marriage lost the opportunity to win acceptance through the democratic process, he said, and "they lose this just when the winds of change were freshening at their backs."
"Five lawyers," he said, deemed themselves chosen, "to burst the bonds of history."
If you favor same-sex marriage, he said, "by all means celebrate today's decision, celebrate the achievement of a desired goal...but do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it."
At 10:21 a.m., when Roberts finished, Scalia jumped in. "Don't go away," he said, and the courtroom erupted in laughter.
Johnson v. United States
Scalia began saying that since 2007, the Court has struggled with the residual clause, which allows longer sentences automatically for suspects previously convicted of three violent felonies.
"We have embarked on a failed enterprise," he said.
Quoting a prior 4th Circuit opinion, he called the clause a "black hole of confusion and uncertainty," and he announced the Court had reversed and remanded the decision for further proceeding.
Before leaving, Roberts announced that the Court would reconvene on Monday to hand down all the term's remaining decisions.
When the justices left, ACLU lawyer James Esseks turned to Bonauto and gave her a hug. Four or five more embraces dotted the bar section. Another gentleman could be seen offering Bonauto two thumbs up.