By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A distinguished panel of experts dissected last week's significant US Supreme Court decisions on Tuesday afternoon at the National Constitution Center.
The panel predicted far-reaching effects from the court's action.
The high court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act 44 years after the earliest gay rights efforts -- but just ten years after it ruled that states could not criminalize gay sex.
Brandeis University president Fred Lawrence called this an acceleration in the acceptance of gay rights and predicted an ever-quickening pace for fully equal status for same-sex couples.
"It's now fully one-third of the people in the United States of America who live in jurisdictions that recognize same-sex marriage," Lawrence noted, "so I think the momentum is very clear."
He and his fellow panelists -- UC Irvine law school dean Erwin Chemerinsky and SCOTUSblog reporter Lyle Denniston -- predicted similarly far-reaching effects from the court's ruling striking down part of the Voting Rights Act, in the form of ever more restrictive voting laws in states with a history of voter suppression.
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