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Supreme Court issues four decisions, no news on marriage equality cases yet

DOMA trials Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials Prop 8 Prop 8 trial Windsor

By Scottie Thomaston

Supreme Court building
Supreme Court building

The Supreme Court released four opinions this morning, the last day the Court is scheduled to release opinions until next week. None of the four were the marriage cases (Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Prop 8 case, or United States v. Windsor, the DOMA case.) All four of today’s opinions were from the April sitting – cases argued when the Justices were in Court during the month of April. (A list of argued cases arranged by monthly sittings is here. There are five outstanding cases from March, and at least three of them (the marriage cases plus a case about voting and proof of citizenship) are complicated and opinions could take a while.

Reports on Twitter had suggested that Ted Olson, who had argued for the plaintiffs in the Prop 8 case at the Supreme Court, was at the court room this morning. But none of the more controversial cases (such as the marriage cases, affirmative action, and the Voting Rights Act) were decided today, and in fact, all of today’s decisions were unanimous in the judgment.

The next scheduled day the Court will release opinions is next Monday. As always, there is no way to know how many or which opinions will come out. Since this is the last month of the Term, and since over a dozen opinions are still outstanding (SCOTUSBlog says there is one from October, one from December, four from January, two from February, five from March, and six from April) with four or maybe five days left to release opinions, the frequency should increase in the remaining days.

The marriage cases are still widely expected at the very end of June. It has been speculated that June 27 could be the last day of this Term, meaning any outstanding cases would come out then (or, in the event the opinion isn’t released, get set for reargument next term, but that is unlikely.) As we wrote yesterday, there were ten cases total argued in March, and so far, Justices Kennedy, Alito, Scalia, and Chief Justice Roberts have not written a majority opinion in any of the March cases; the Court likes to distribute writing assignments fairly evenly, but since there are ten cases, a Justice will get two opinions from the March sitting. It’s possible Justice Kennedy could get both opinions in the marriage cases, but any speculation at this point is just speculation. (More on this here.)

The last few days of the term are especially significant in terms of LGBT history, as well. Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down state laws banning same-sex intimacy, was decided on June 26, 2003. And the Stonewall riots, of course, began early in the morning on June 28, 1969. The opinions in the marriage cases could also be released around the time that Pride events will occur.

We will have updates next Monday. Stay tuned.


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