United States Supreme Court Justices plan to assemble in private on September 24 to look at three same-sex marriage cases including California’s Proposition 8. According to SCOTUSBlog, “The September 24 private meeting, coming a week before the new Term opens, often produces a fairly lengthy list of new grants. None are known in advance, however.” Please keep the Supreme Court Justices in your prayers at this critical juncture for marriage equality.
The Supreme Court may get its first look at the same-sex marriage issue — including the test case over California’s famous “Proposition 8? — when the Justices assemble in private on September 24. The Court’s electronic docket noted on Wednesday that the California case, as well as a somewhat related Arizona case and one of the cases involving the federal Defense of Marriage Act, were set for that Conference. There are other DOMA cases pending, and others are yet to be filed, so they apparently will not all be ready for the Court’s initial look then.
Cases are distributed to the Justices more or less automatically when the Clerk’s office finds that the initial filings are complete, or soon will be. That does not necessarily mean that the Court will act on them after the initial examination; in fact, the Court has the option of putting them off for analysis later. It sometimes does that when a number of cases are related, but some are not yet ready.
Although the Court took the unusual step during its summer recess of granting three new cases for review, its usual practice is to wait until its first Conference near the opening of a new Term to accept cases from the batch most recently filed. The September 24 private meeting, coming a week before the new Term opens, often produces a fairly lengthy list of new grants. None are known in advance, however. Although most of the Justices have spent considerable time away from Washington during the summer recess, their clerks have been working away on recommendations of which, if any, new cases to grant.
It is predictable, but not a certainty, that the Court will step into the heated controversy over same-sex marriage in its new Term. That’s because several federal courts have struck down a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act, passed by Congress in 1996 in an attempt to head off what the lawmakers thought was likely to be a spreading movement in the states to create an equal right for same-sex couples to wed. DOMA’s Section 3 — affecting more than 1,000 federal laws — restricts marriage benefits or provisions in any federal statute to marriages of a man and a woman.
For more details about the cases (Windsor v. United States, Hollingsworth v. Perry and Brewer v. Diaz) to be considered by the Supreme Court Justices, read the full story at SCOTUSBlog.