Main | Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Which Case Will Get To SCOTUS First?

While various legal groups jockey to get to the Supreme Court, Freedom To Marry head Evan Wolfson speaks about the marriage equality cases currently before the various circuit courts of appeal:
Presumably, we will soon - meaning, in a matter of months - have rulings from one or more of the federal appellate courts. Then there's the possibility of further procedures as to whether the three-judge panels in those courts that will rule will then go to the broader, full panel of the entire circuit courts [a process called en banc review]. That could consume a few more months. When that gets resolved (either by bypassing that step or by having another set of arguments and further round of decisions), then whoever loses that ultimate appeals court ruling may ask the Supreme Court to hear the case. That's called "seeking cert." That stage then requires another few months of briefing and argument, with one side saying the Supreme Court should hear the case and the other side saying the Court should not hear the case. Then, it's up to the Supreme Court to decide whether it's going to take one of the cases or not. It takes only four of the nine justices to vote to hear a case.
There are presently 65 marriage equality lawsuits in progress in 31 states and US territories. Freedom To Marry has posted a handy chart.

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