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Friday, August 22, 2014

Courts - "Reading the Court’s signals on same-sex marriage"

In a long commentary today, Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog observes:

Since early this year, the Supreme Court has stepped back into the same-sex marriage controversy five times. While it has done little to explain those actions, it has sent some signals about its thinking. Its most important signals may have been those it appeared to have sent Wednesday, in putting off the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Virginia.

Between the nine lines of that order, the Court implied that it will not be rushed into a decision about which, if any, cases it is going to review. And it left no doubt that the Justices themselves, not the lawyers or their clients, are in charge of the timing. The Court, in short, has not yet gotten caught up in the race to settle the basic constitutional issue just as soon as it could possibly do so. * * *

With a little more than five weeks until the Justices assemble in their first private Conference, in advance of the new Term starting October 6, it is by no means clear that any same-sex marriage case will be ready for the Justices to consider it on September 29. That depends, in part, on whether the Court will have cases before it one at a time, as each is ready, or in a group., when several are ready.

The last scheduled day for distributing a case for consideration by the Justices at the September 29 meeting is September 10 — now, just three weeks away. The pending Utah case has a fair prospect of being ready then, but there is reason to doubt at this point that the pending Oklahoma and Virginia cases will be complete. The lawyers involved have said they were working diligently to push matters along, but the clock is against them for action by the Justices at the outset of the new Term.

There will be plenty of time, though, to get a case before the Court for decision during the new Term. If a case is accepted for review by sometime next January, it is almost certain to be decided before the end of the Term, late next June.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 22, 2014 08:34 AM
Posted to Courts in general