Friday, January 16, 2015

Here we go: SCOTUS grants cert

As predicted, the Supreme Court decided to address the split in circuits (with the 6th circuit upholding equal marriage bans).  They have granted certiorari to all the cases from the 6th circuit, with arguments in April and a decision in June.

Is this the endgame?  What will be the civil rights legacy of the Roberts court?

From the NY Times:
The Sixth Circuit’s decision upheld bans on same-sex marriage in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. The Supreme Court agreed to hear petitions seeking review from plaintiffs challenging the bans in each of those states. 
The court said it will hear two-and-a-half hours of argument, probably in the last week of April. The first 90 minutes will be devoted to the question of whether the Constitution requires states “to license a marriage between two people of the same sex.” 
The last hour will concern a question that will be moot if the answer to the first one is yes: whether states must “recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state.” 
ThinkProgress is hopeful:

Although the Court is unlikely to hand down a decision on marriage equality until June at the earliest, it may have already tipped its hand. Last October, before the Sixth Circuit weighed in, the Court began denying review of lower court decisions ruling in favor of marriage — an act that also had the effect of allowing those decisions to go into effect in many states. A decision against equality at this stage could potentially unmarry couples who benefited from those lower court decisions. At the very least, it would create the anomalous situation where people who got married before a certain date would remain married, but no new same-sex marriages would be permitted in some states. 
It is unlikely that a majority of the Court would have allowed these lower court decisions to take effect unless they believed that the Supreme Court was likely to rule the same way.

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