Every new year brings new opportunities for breakthrough legal decisions. 2013 was a year of both significant progress in some areas of the law, and erosion of rights in others. Leaks revealed the scope of information monitoring undertaken by the NSA, while same sex marriage overcame significant legal and societal hurdles.
If there was a central unifying theme in American law in 2013 it was equality—or, more accurately, the ceaseless struggle to define the contours of equal justice in an ever-changing world. Riding the “up” escalator last year on the journey toward equality were gay and lesbian couples and the millions of other Americans who stoutly support the premise of same-sex marriage. For them, 2013 was a year of brilliant progress, of recognition and redemption. Riding the “down” escalator were poor citizens, people of color, the elderly, and the ill, who lost precious voting protections in court and in statehouses all over the nation.