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Supreme Court takes no action in Sixth Circuit marriage cases

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The Supreme Court has released its order list from last week’s conference, and no action of any kind has been taken in the challenges to states’ same-sex marriage bans.

They did deny the petition in the Louisiana case; that was a petition for review before judgment in the appeals court.

The Court is holding another conference on Friday. Presumably, later today the cases will be relisted for that conference. If the Justices want to decide the issue this term, they need to grant a case within weeks.

UPDATE: The remaining marriage cases have been relisted for the 1/16 conference.


  • 1. ebohlman  |  January 12, 2015 at 6:46 am

    Actually, they denied cert in advance of judgment for Robicheaux (Louisiana). This was expected, since cert in advance of judgment is rarely granted and the case was heard by the 5CA on Friday.

  • 2. kohltd  |  January 12, 2015 at 6:51 am

    Although disappointing, I would have been more surprised if they had actually granted cert after only one conference. I'm only going to worry if they don't do anything next Tuesday. Until then I'm just going to keep clicking on the wikipedia map and gazing at all the beautiful blue!

  • 3. Scottie Thomaston  |  January 12, 2015 at 6:53 am

    Yeah I changed my post. Embarrassingly, I missed that because it was in a different part of the order (and not the part where they're listed by docket number.)

  • 4. brooklyn11217  |  January 12, 2015 at 7:03 am

    I believe the next conference is Friday, so we could hear cert grants that afternoon.

  • 5. GregInTN  |  January 12, 2015 at 7:12 am

    I wonder how long it will take NOM to declare the LA denial a "Major Victory".

  • 6. worldcup26  |  January 12, 2015 at 7:22 am

    Any insight on why the 11th Circuit hasn't scheduled oral argument? I thought the deadline for Bondi to reply has passed?

  • 7. yyyAllenyyy  |  January 12, 2015 at 7:24 am

    As I recall, this is exactly what happened with Windsor. It was put off to the very last conference before it was granted. We will know in a week.

  • 8. Zack12  |  January 12, 2015 at 7:28 am

    Not shocked at all the LA request was denied.
    Cert before judgement at the circuit court level almost never happens.

  • 9. Sagesse  |  January 12, 2015 at 7:31 am

    From Frank Bruni at the NYT, on 'religious liberty':

    Your God and My Dignity
    Religious Liberty, Bigotry and Gays

  • 10. Raga  |  January 12, 2015 at 8:09 am

    I think Windsor was granted in December.

  • 11. guitaristbl  |  January 12, 2015 at 8:40 am

    Louisiana being denied cert is not a surprise really. The relist though, that's a tad worrying. SCOTUSblog says that they will probably be granted on Friday, I don't know why they make that statement but I trust them. Lets wait and see.

  • 12. Zack12  |  January 12, 2015 at 8:44 am

    They are going to wait until the last possible day to do something with it, just like Windsor.

  • 13. Scottie Thomaston  |  January 12, 2015 at 8:47 am

    Yup December 7

  • 14. MichaelGrabow  |  January 12, 2015 at 8:56 am

    When is the final conference for the current term?

  • 15. davepCA  |  January 12, 2015 at 9:19 am

    At this point in NOM's demise, I wonder how many people would be aware of anything they declare.

  • 16. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  January 12, 2015 at 9:35 am

    Honestly, SCOTUS' modus operandi in recent history seems to be that they'll relist at least once those cases for which they're planning to grant cert. Fingers crossed.

  • 17. hopalongcassidy  |  January 12, 2015 at 11:01 am

    It's not hard to find a hatful of knuckledraggers on some of the discussion venues like Yahoo making that very claim. It's funny, almost, to see how ridiculous and ignorant they really are, but their little mutual masturbation society keeps them (barely) alive & kicking.

  • 18. franklinsewell  |  January 12, 2015 at 11:15 am

    The justices conference all the way through the end of the current term. Several sources suggest that they need to grant cert to a case in early or mid-January in order for the case to be heard in the current term.

  • 19. scream4ever  |  January 12, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Don't worry about it. It's common for cases to be relisted at least once. They are also likely deciding which cases to take and which ones to put on hold.

  • 20. flyerguy77  |  January 12, 2015 at 11:40 am

    Don't be disappointed.. This is normal routine for SCOTUS.. We would have a right to be pissed off if they reject all the appeals, and also we would get the decision at the same time (at end of June) if they accepted one of cases today or Friday.. Be positive and think good vibes :-)

  • 21. F_Young  |  January 12, 2015 at 11:45 am

    So, did SCOTUS grant any certs last Friday? Has the number of open hearing slots in April remained stable?

  • 22. VIRick  |  January 12, 2015 at 11:50 am

    "They are also likely deciding which cases to take and which ones to put on hold."

    Almost certainly, that's the real reason they've been re-listed.

  • 23. josejoram  |  January 12, 2015 at 11:58 am

    I am really concerned about the possible silence of SCOTUS. Can you imagine what a mess?

  • 24. Zack12  |  January 12, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    I will say I'm not as trusting of Scotusblog as I was a couple of days ago.
    How anyone can think the 25 page homophobic rant in the Idaho hearing will be a game changer is beyond me.

  • 25. davepCA  |  January 12, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    Please read some of the comments and responses below about this. Yes, we're all eager to see this move forward, but it does not look like there is anything to be concerned about just because they did not grant cert yet. It's actually pretty typical for this to take another few weeks, based on recent history about previous SCOTUS actions regarding cases pertaining to civil marriage for same sex couples..

  • 26. Mike_Baltimore  |  January 12, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    I'm still wondering who will buck up the major dollars NoM needs to campaign against Portman in Ohio in his presumed 2016 bid for re-election. Will it be the Koch brothers, some other deep pocketed bigot, or a combination? After all, with the losses NoM has suffered, monetarily-wise, over the past couple of years, they sure don't have any loose change lying around to do it 'themselves'.

    Also, the Ohio primary is currently scheduled for March 8. That means the opponent or opponents of Portman need to get started with serious fund-raising no later than summer/early fall 2015. Can NoM line up the opposition to Portman by then? And if NoM loses in the primary, will they just give up, or support the Democratic candidate in the General Election? (Senator Sherrod Brown could use a dependable 2nd Senator from Ohio.)

    It's not that I am a supporter of Portman, but I find it quite hilarious that NoM isn't fully supporting the GOTP incumbent for re-election.

  • 27. StraightDave  |  January 12, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    When you recall all the inconclusive speculation on this forum about which cases they should take…

    you certainly don't expect SCOTUS to be any smarter than this gang about it. I suspect the initial question of whether to take "any" of the cases was answered rather quickly. After getting that context settled, it's not inappropriate to spend a few more days deciding "which cases". This is not the normal "one case at a time" exercise that's so much easier.

  • 28. StraightDave  |  January 12, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Is Lyle subcontracting his drafts to an intern now? … and his proof-reading.
    That was just too off-the-wall for him.

  • 29. RnL2008  |  January 12, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Okay, so no real news today, except that Louisiana will NOT be heard……and I agree, no surprise there, but if the Justices keep silent much longer, will a case go before them this Term? Or will it be early next term? This has me a bit concerned.

  • 30. A_Jayne  |  January 12, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    NoM's supporters are the radical fringe of the GOTPers. With Portman's defection on the marriage equality issue, he is no longer right-wing enough for them, making him a prime target for a primary opponent to the right of him.

    Re: the Koch Bros, their support of either Portman or his primary opponent will depend on the stands either takes on environmental issues – whichever crows the loudest about "deregulation" will get their dollars. They are purported to not really care about ME…

  • 31. apimomfan2  |  January 12, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    SCOTUSBLOG never came across as supportive of gay rights. They gave Tony Perkins space to opine as he pleases, yes?

  • 32. josejoram  |  January 12, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Thanks, davepCA. I am now eager to see what scotus will say next Friday.and really optimistic after SD decision.

  • 33. Eric  |  January 12, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Scotusblog often tries to remain neutral to a fault.

  • 34. Eric  |  January 12, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    They come across as neutral on the topic. They were big Baker fans until quite recently, not drawing the distinction that Baker was about the issuance of a marriage license, not the recognition of existing legal and valid marriages. I would have at least expected them to point out that summary dismissals are only precedent for similarly situated cases. And, that just because a case involves gays, doesn't make cases similarly situated.

  • 35. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  January 12, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    So you all may know (I've posted it before on a amicus curie) I have a good friend in family law here in South Florida. Well we are all from Michigan, where he has family there in law that are part of the DeBoer v. Snyder case (for the pro-ME side). He emailed me and said that they (counsel) received word from the SCOTUS this morning that they will advise on Friday 1/16 if review is granted.

    I have no doubt that this was relisted for Friday as to determine which case is the appropriate vehicle to close this chapter! Can't wait to see which case(s) are selected from the four! Hell, take all four, affirm all lower court judgements, reverse the 6CA (adios SUTTON/COOK!) , and put Baker into the dustbin of history!

  • 36. VIRick  |  January 12, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    Ryan, all along, I've felt that "DeBoer v. Snyder" will either be THE case, or one of two, finally selected for SCOTUS review.

  • 37. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  January 12, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    I believe they are simply holding out until mid-Janaury to see SCOTUS grant cert and just place the case on hold and await the result. Just have to wait one more week!

  • 38. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  January 12, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Nope… None of the remaining slots for the FY14 term were taken:

  • 39. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  January 12, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    Agree, I felt DeBoer would be one of the cases, given the trial record. I do think others will be added given it does not directly take on the recognition of marriages performed elsewhere. I'd like to see Section II of DOMA along with Baker eviscerated.

  • 40. F_Young  |  January 13, 2015 at 12:31 am

    Thanks, Ryan.

    So, a decision in June 2015 is still very much possible; that's reassuring. The fact that the Louisiana case was denied, but the others were untouched, makes it all the more likely that one of the 6th Circuit cases will be heard.

    I wonder whether SCOTUS simply wants to consider more carefully which of the four 6th Circuit cases to hear, or whether they are waiting for the Idaho case for some reason (heightened scrutiny, for example).

    Or is it possible extra time is necessary because someone is writing a dissent? Are dissents with reasons ever published when cert is granted?

  • 41. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  January 13, 2015 at 4:49 am

    Absolutely on a decision in late June/early July with the end of the Oct14 term. If you read my post a few threads below this, you can see I have a friend who is knows people in the law firm in the DeBoer case in Michigan, and they were notified they would hear on Friday if cert is granted or not.

    So your statement above is spot on: SCOTUS is deciding how many of the four to grant cert. I am hoping they get a set of cases that have both celebration and recognition. I like MI and KY, given the trial in MI on celebration and KY having both plus the question on Baker. I honestly think Idaho is a side-show and has no bearing.

    Dissents are possible, as the link above shows that Alito wrote one for a case denied cert. But they are generally short, and SCOTUS seems to have little appetite to wait on it to provide the order. I haven't really seen a dissent written for any cert grants.

  • 42. F_Young  |  January 13, 2015 at 6:15 am

    ORIGINAL TEXT:"…they (counsel) received word from the SCOTUS this morning that they will advise on Friday 1/16 if review is granted."

    *Clear your schedules (plaintiffs and lawyers) for Friday, Saturday and Sunday
    *Reserve a phone number, email, Twitter and Facebook account exclusively for incoming media and insider calls
    *Send advisory to national and international media on the best way to contact you
    *Assign someone to monitor above accounts 24 hours around the clock on Friday, Saturday and Sunday
    *Prepare speaking points and news release assuming cert is granted to your case on Friday
    *Make sure you are groomed and dressed for TV
    *Pack your bags in case you need to travel on short notice for TV shows (e.g. Ellen)
    *Get lots of sleep Thursday night

    So, how did I do? Did anything get lost in translation? 😉

  • 43. Raga  |  January 13, 2015 at 6:19 am

    No, Windsor was granted in early December, not in January.

  • 44. Zack12  |  January 13, 2015 at 7:12 am

    I agree, we need to have a ruling that strikes down both.
    Someone pointed out in one thread that it would take 800 miles to be able to drive to New Mexico from where he and his partner live in Texas and they can't afford to do that.
    Only striking down a ban on out of state bans is still a loss in my book.

  • 45. VIRick  |  January 13, 2015 at 11:43 am

    "I honestly think Idaho is a side-show and has no bearing."

    Indeed. "These arguments are not those of serious people." Idaho is a total side-show, simply wasting more tax-payer dollars to pacify a belligerantly stubborn ass-hat. In due course, SCOTUS will ultimately deny certiorari, and that will be that.

    Butch Otter, having already given up Gay Otter, will then be forced to marry Dead Horse.

  • 46. VIRick  |  January 13, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Excellent translation! I score it an "A+."

    Oh wait! One more:

    Advise April DeBoer and Jayne Rouse to have themselves and the babies, groomed, dressed, and ready for any/all TV news broadcasts. Seeing those two women with the 4 little kids really has a positive visual impact on the general public viewership. It makes the dry legal case real in very specific human terms.

  • 47. F_Young  |  January 13, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Seriously, they should also:
    *upload photos and videos to a website or Facebook in advance, for the media that can't meet them locally, which is most of the media.
    *ensure that the website can handle about 100 times its normal traffic
    *make tentative childcare and petcare arrangements.

  • 48. franklinsewell  |  January 13, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    I don't think Lyle thinks that the Idaho case will impact the cases currently up for review in the court. I think he's trying to provide some analysis and outline all of the possibilities. In my reading of his work over these past months, that's the impression I've had.

  • 49. VIRick  |  January 13, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    "…. don't expect SCOTUS to be any smarter than this gang …."

    You know, Dave, if the egotistical Scalia were to read this keenly-honed observation of yours, in reaction, I can already picture him running around in tight circles with his hair all a-flutter, in total disarray, doing his best argle-bargle impression, while consulting with the haruspices on their latest dissecting of the entrails.

  • 50. StraightDave  |  January 13, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    I recall seeing some fairly polite written pissing contest going on between Scalia and Judge Posner from the 7th, where Posner regularly puts Scalia in his place. Scalia's reaction to one such incident was to remark, "He's just a circuit judge, isn't he?", as if that settled things purely by his own notion of rank. So little old me, I'm sure I'd get the turned-up-nose-sniff treatment. And quite the honor I would take that as!!!!!

  • 51. Rick55845  |  January 13, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    Hey, I'd like to read that pissing contest, if you can recall where you ran across it. :)

  • 52. VIRick  |  January 13, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Whenever ANY judge trolls Scalia, it makes my day that much more complete. Judge Posner has never relented from the practice and continues to do so at any and every opportunity. Still, I'm elated whenever someone else picks up the habit, as did Judge Reeves in the Mississippi ruling, when he seriously trolled Scalia twice in one judgment.

    Rick55845, the on-going pissing contest (with Posner always winning with his blunt earthiness, while Scalia slinks off like an offended prig and/or a wounded twit) has to be gleaned from choice bits and pieces from an assortment of decisions. Didn't Judge Posner once have to explain to Scalia the basic judicial process inherent in the concept, "Boiling the frog?"

    Has anyone actually gathered this on-going riotous dialogue together in one handy location? I've catalogued a few of the most-recent missives, but they're mostly one-way trolls of Scalia and his unbridled pomposity.

  • 53. StraightDave  |  January 13, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Google is your friend, and today so am I cuz I'm in a good mood.

    and one more that might be a better overview of the flashpoint. Scalia writes a book, Posner is critical of it, Scalia accuses him of lying, Posner responds… Stay tuned for further episodes.

  • 54. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  January 13, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    I believe once they have a petition to grant cert, they can hold onto it as long as they like…as unfortunate as that could get. I doubt that will happen here though.

  • 55. VIRick  |  January 13, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    The third link, which brings up "The Incoherence of Antonin Scalia," by Richard A. Posner, is …… beyond words, really.

    Here's one short paragraph, to give everyone a taste of how Judge Posner, and his unrelenting view of Scalia's judicial duplicity, totally "owns" Scalia:

    "A problem that undermines their entire approach is the authors' (Scalia and Garner) consistant commitment to textual originalism. They endorse fifty-seven "canons of construction," or interpretive principles, and in their variety and frequent ambiguity, these "canons" provide them with all the room needed to generate the outcomes that favors Justice Scalia's strongly felt views on such matters as abortion, homosexuality, illegal immigration, states' rights, the death penalty, and guns."

    So, there it is Scalia; you've been told.

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