Same-sex marriage cases ready, scheduled (UPDATED)
on Dec 23, 2014 at 8:02 am
UPDATED Tuesday 3:43 p.m. The Supreme Court’s electronic docket now confirms that the four Sixth Circuit cases have been distributed to the Justices for consideration at the January 9 Conference. The docket numbers are 14-556, 14-562, 14-571 and 14-574. The Court will not necessarily act on the cases at that time, but that cannot be known in advance. Because of the split in the federal appeals courts on the same-sex marriage issue, it is widely expected that the Court will grant review of one or more of the cases.
Lawyers handling the new round of same-sex marriage cases at the Supreme Court said Monday that the Court staff has informed them that the Justices will take up those cases at their next private Conference, on January 9. Four cases from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and one from a federal district court in Louisiana are now ready, with all documents filed.
Several reply briefs were filed over the past weekend by attorneys for same-sex couples, completing the pending cases from the four states in the Sixth Circuit’s region — Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. The briefing had already been completed in the Louisiana case, which is a plea for the Justices to hear that case without waiting for it to be reviewed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
At issue in the Sixth Circuit cases is a ruling by the appeals court for that region, upholding all of the bans on same-sex marriage licensing or recognition in the four states. At issue in the Louisiana case is a decision by a federal trial judge in New Orleans upholding that state’s ban on licensing and recognition.
If the Court takes an initial vote on the cases, on the question of granting or denying review, when it returns in January from a winter recess, and ultimately grants review, the cases could be scheduled for briefing, oral argument, and a final decision in the current Term, which runs through late June or early July.
The distribution of the four Sixth Circuit cases for the January 9 Conference is not yet reflected on the Court’s electronic docket, but is expected to be entered there on Tuesday. The docket does reflect that scheduling for the Louisiana case.