Main | Wednesday, September 10, 2014

SCOTUSblog: Supremes Could Announce Marriage Case As Soon As Today

Lyle Denniston wrote yesterday at SCOTUSblog:
With lawyers moving very rapidly, the number of appeals to the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage rose on Tuesday to seven, as state officials in Indiana and Wisconsin separately challenged a federal appeals court ruling against their bans, and lawyers for the couples planned to file immediate replies. The new cases landed at the Court five days after that decision; the states had the option of taking ninety days to file. Along with the two new filings, the Court has awaiting it individual petitions on the issue from Oklahoma and Utah and three from Virginia. In all of the cases, both sides and a lengthening list of “friends of the Court” have agreed that the Court should take on the constitutional controversy now. The Court may indicate as early as tomorrow which of the seven cases, if any, will be considered by the Justices at their first Conference of the new Term, on September 29.

Taken together, the seven cases raise both of the constitutional questions that have arisen in lower courts in a wave of decisions over the past fifteen months: do states have the authority to refuse to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry, and do they have the authority to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed for their residents in other states. The Court has the option of taking on either or both issues, and it also has the option of putting off any consideration for the time being, despite the heavy pressure from virtually everyone involved in the cases, who contend that the Court should not wait any longer to decide. None of the cases is a mandatory appeal. It would be highly unusual, however, for the Court to pass up all of the cases, when everyone is championing review now.
Denniston notes that federal appeals courts have not yet split on either of the issues cited above.

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