Supreme Court could move on marriage equality cases in the next month
SCOTUS Blog is suggestion the Supreme Court could make a move on when to hear same-sex marriage arguments within the next month.
The National Constitution Center, a non partisan group established by congress and dedicated to disseminating info about the US constitution, runs the now famous SCOTUS Blog, known for being one of the fastest forms of publicly available insight into the Supreme Court (SCOTUS = Supreme Court of the United States).
For those in the news business, it’s hard to find a faster, more reliable outlet for news from the highest court in the land, and their posts are often seen as a good barometer on the future of issues facing out nation.
And with three federal court cases – Utah, Oklahoma, and Virginia – challenging same-sex marriage bans, no one is sure if the Supreme Court will even hear the cases or which of the cases it will hear.
So, it’s pretty exciting to read news from SCTOUS Blog on the topic.
Interestingly enough, it does paint both bright and dark pictures of the future of the issue.
First is a point I’ve been making for some time – how many courts have to strike same-sex marriage bans before the Supreme Court’s ruling becomes irrelevant? SCOTUS blog examines this situation perfectly:
…the court most often takes on an issue when lower courts are deeply split on it, and the near-unanimity so far may remove that reason, and, second, the court no doubt is aware that there is political momentum on the side of same-sex marriage, so they could choose to let that play out.
With so much agreement by Federal judges, why should SCOTUS waste time debating an issue almost every court in the land has already decided on. The only court rooms which sided with denying marriage equality were located in extremely conservative states, where these rulings were almost immediately made void by higher local courts.
As for additional reasons SCOTUS might not hear the case, well there is that old legal mainstay, precedent. Again, SCOTUS Blog explains this less-likely scenario:
Another, but far less likely reason not to take on the marriage question now would be that the court feels the entire issue was settled by a 1972, one-line decision by the court against same-sex marriage. The court, however, would have to grant review and say that explicitly, since lower courts have said the issue was not decided back then, and they would have to be overruled on the point.
As for reasons why SCOTUS will probably hear one of the three cases, SCOTUS Blog points out the real issue debated here, and one which hasn’t been resolved before, is how and if LGBT people are being discriminated against by being denied same-sex marriage. You’ll often hear this topic referred to as a “test a state must meet in order to justify treating gays and lesbians less favorably in state laws.”
So are these laws discriminatory? Are states right in their unequal treatment of the LGBTQ community because we don’t qualify as a protected or protectable class?
We here at GayRVA obviously think yes, but sadly it will be left to 9 men and women to make the call.
Either way, one of the most fascinating bits from today’s SCOTUS Blog post is the prediction that SCOTUS could make a decision when to hear the case, and which case to hear, within the next month when they wrap up their summer recess.
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