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Ruth Bader Ginsburg thinks the country is ready for gay marriage. That matters.

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  1. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told Bloomberg that it would "not take a large adjustment" for the country to accept a constitutional right to gay marriage.
  2. In January, the Supreme Court agreed to hear same-sex marriage cases from four states, setting up a decision by the end of June.
  3. Ginsburg's statement is consequential. One worry the justices could have ruling for gay marriage is that the ruling could lead to a terrible backlash against the Court. She's saying that she, at least, doesn't believe that would happen.

"The rest of us recognized they are one of us"

As the Supreme Court prepares to rule on marriage equality, Ginsburg addressed a key stumbling block in her interview with Bloomberg: public readiness.

While it's easy to imagine the Court exists in a realm of pure law and cares nothing for public opinion, the evidence is quite the opposite: the Court takes public opinion into account, whether consciously or unconsciously, in its rulings. And so if the justices believed that the country would revolt against a ruling that legalized gay marriage, that ruling would become that much less likely.

But in her comments to Bloomberg, Ginsburg dismissed that fear. "The change in people's attitudes on that issue has been enormous," she said. "In recent years, people have said, ‘This is the way I am.' And others looked around, and we discovered it's our next-door neighbor — we're very fond of them. Or it's our child's best friend, or even our child. I think that as more and more people came out and said that ‘this is who I am,' the rest of us recognized that they are one of us."

Ginsburg, at least, thinks the public is ready to accept the Supreme Court finding a constitutional right to gay marriage. The question is whether four other justices agree with her.