The court’s three most conservative justices objected. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. joined a dissent written by Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, which said the court should have accepted the case for full briefing and argument because the outcome wasn’t nearly as clear-cut as the majority claimed.
“Nothing in Obergefell spoke (let alone clearly) to the question” raised in the Arkansas case, Gorsuch wrote. (Parenthetically, the parenthetical in that line has been interpreted by some as a shot at Kennedy, who wrote the Obergefell ruling and for whom Gorsuch clerked on the Supreme Court.
Noticeably absent from the dissent was Roberts, who was on the losing side in Obergefell. He issued a strongly worded dissent and underlined his opposition by reading a summary of it from the bench — the first and only time he has taken such a step in more than a decade on the court.