Well, this is it: September 29th, the day that the Justices of the Supreme Court finally drag themselves back to work after their long, luxurious summer break of lounging by the pool, sunning themselves and re-reading How Stella Got Her Groove Back.
The court’s first order of business: figuring out what they’re going to do about this whole gay marriage kerfuffle. Five states (Virginia, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin, Indiana) are all jostling to be the case that the highest court in the land chooses to settle once and for all whether we should be allowed to get married.
Which state will it be? There’s no way to know for sure, but our money’s on none. At least not yet.
We could of course be wrong about this, as indeed we are about so many things. But here’s why we think the court’s not ready for a decision yet:
This is just the first conference of the session. There are months upon months for them to pick a case. The fact that they scheduled these cases for consideration on their first day back could just mean that they acknowledge the importance of the issue and want to get up to speed for later, not that they’re ready to make a move right away.
Also: there are a couple of lower courts about to issue decisions in other cases at any moment. If the Supreme Court waits another few weeks, they could have a much broader array of cases from which to chose.
And: Ruth Bader Ginsburg herself said that they would wait until the lower courts disagreed with each other before taking a case. That hasn’t happened yet. In fact, the way things are going, it might never happen.
So we would not be surprised if the court decides to just wait. It’s not terribly satisfying, but then again, nothing about the federal government ever is.
Totally agree. Right now, there is no reason for SCOTUS to take up a marriage equality case (even though everyone seems to be clamoring for it to do just that). And really does it want to hear the exact same arguments it heard 18 months ago when Prop 8 was argued (and the Court sidestepped the issue)? I would not be the least bit surprised if the nine justices had already read their legal tea leaves and realized hearing a case would just result in the same 5-4 split as Windsor. Ergo, it would be following its own recent tradition of sidestepping the issue by simply not granting cert to any of the cases. Of course, by doing so, marriage equality immediately comes to all states in three circuits. This would be a good thing indeed.
Excepting that the Supremes can and probably will NOT just remove the stays on these cases today, even if they don’t accept them for review today. They can hold a case for as long as they want/as long as they don’t have the votes to either grant or deny cert. And that means everything just stays on hold.
Denying review would accomplish what @kofender says, marriage equality in VA, WVA, NC, SC, UT, WY, CO, OK, WI and IN [because the Circuit Court rulings would then apply to ALL the states in their Circuit], but they are unlikely to punt at this early point. They’d still get “blamed” for the non-ruling and wouldn’t get to write the lovely opinion.
Nope, they’ll be ruling, when they have 4 votes to grant cert. I think if Anthony Kennedy were to say “let’s do this!” None of the others would ask him which way he was leaning, they’d just grant cert. They’d all know that the issue was going to be decided and they could move on too. They have to review 130 cases A WEEK to go through the 10,000 a year. Don’t begrudge them their vacations. Work to get yourself a job that provides you with the time off you desire and the $$ to spend that time as you wish.
Oh, and the 9th will soon likely rule in our favor too, bringing AK, MT, ID, NV AND AZ. That would total 15 new states and the 19 we have or 34 + DC. Read the article on Barney Frank talking about how slowly the POLITICAL ball moves [using the Civil Rights Movement as the example] and you’ll realize we’ve made HUGE gains in just the last year. If this seems slow to you, it took over 8 years between the 1st and last pieces of Civil Rights legislation at the national level.
I figured the same thing, even before I heard RBG’s remarks. They’re going to wait this out a while longer.
@benandy: And KS, I left out KS from the 10th.
The Supreme Court meets from October to June each year. Don’t they sometimes announce that they’re taking on a case (“certiorari”) as late as June? There’s no reason for this decision to be scheduled for a particular day (not yesterday, obviously, and not “today” or any other). Your prediction is way off base.
Thanks, the article and opinions are well reasoned — for
now the Supremes (in all likelihood) sit on the sidelines
and will neither take a case (grant cert) nor reject a case (deny cert).
The big case(s) on the horizon are in the 5th Circuit, significantly,
the district court decision in Louisiana holding that the law prohibiting
marriage equality is valid — that is — anti gay marriage currently
is o.k. in Louisiana.
The 5th Circuit is fast tracking the Louisiana case. If the 5th upholds
the La. district court then there will be a split. If the 5th Cir. opinion is
written before June 29 (when the current S.Ct. term ends), then we will
have some insight into whether the Supremes take up marriage equality.
So, all eyes on the 5th Circuit for now.
The “go to” think tank on gay issues estimates on their website that there are less than 100,000 married same sex couples in North America based on “data” from state marriage records where same sex marriage is legal. NOW, AFER in this video makes reference to some “census” study showing that there are over 250,000 ( http://www.census.gov/hhes/samesex ), The census website I visited says the most recent census data shows 605,472 couples claiming to be same-sex couples with 168,092 of those couples claiming that they are married.
Assuming for the sake of argument that there are in fact 250,000 married same-sex couples in America, was it worth 8 years of George Bush, DOMA and organized anti-gay marriage groups to have gay marriage legal in less than half of the US states? Was the animosity towards gay people generated by the hot button issue of gay marriage worth it?
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