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No marriage decision today from Supreme Court, but two progressive wins came down

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

It's time for marriage equality. Attribution: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
It’s time for marriage equality. Attribution: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
The Supreme Court had seven decisions remaining going into this morning. They did not release the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the marriage equality case, today. They’re currently scheduled to issue opinions tomorrow and possibly Monday.

Today, the Court did issue two decisions that resulted in progressive and pro-LGBT victories.

In the Texas housing case, the Court held that so-called “disparate impact” claims are available under the Fair Housing Act. That is, the Court decided that admitting racist practices alone is not the only way for plaintiffs to win a discrimination claim in housing – they can rely on evidence that the impact of a policy has a discriminatory effect on a group. Lambda Legal, among other LGBT groups, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case.

The second case decided was King v. Burwell, challenging the subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. The Court held by a 6-3 vote that the subsidies survive. LGBT groups also filed friend-of-the-court briefs in this case, arguing that eliminating subsidies would have a major effect on HIV/AIDS treatment.

We’ll be watching tomorrow and Monday for the marriage decision.


  • 1. Eric  |  June 25, 2015 at 9:07 am

    My lesbian aunt was just interviewed by PBS outside the SCOTUS building.

  • 2. guitaristbl  |  June 25, 2015 at 9:16 am

    As I said this term has provided many liberal wins and I was reading an article about this being the most liberal SCOTUS term in decades in terms of decisions.
    Lets hope that the trend does not stop with Obergefell.

  • 3. KACinSTL  |  June 25, 2015 at 9:49 am

    I was reading scotusblog live at the time of releases, I and many others were pretty surprised about the discrimination case ruling of 5-4, and 6-3 for ACA is pretty encouraging. I.. more than feel but less than know how our ssm case will go. It's short sighted and selfish, but I'm hoping it comes down tomorrow so my bf and I can celebrate pridefest in St. Louis nice and proper.

  • 4. tigris26  |  June 25, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Yay for the progressive wins this morning at SCOTUS! I was shocked that both Kennedy AND Roberts joined the healthcare majority – everyone felt that with a possible victory it was going to be a 5-4 with either Roberts or Kennedy joining the liberal justices. But no! It was both!

    And with the Fair Housing Act case Justice Kennedy joined the liberal justices and wrote the opinion for it! I know someone of us were hoping/expecting Kennedy to do so, but still…Good stuff! 🙂

  • 5. Mike_Baltimore  |  June 25, 2015 at 11:16 am

    This may be one of the reasons we heard nary a peep from SCOTUS about Obergefell today.

    When was the last time the court announced two decisions, minor or especially major, authored by the same justice on the same day? And I doubt many thought the ACA and/or the Fair Housing Act decisions would be minor. Same with Obergefell. That decision will not affect a large number of people, but it will be an extremely important ruling.

  • 6. tigris26  |  June 25, 2015 at 11:41 am

    I agree. It is my understanding that it is rare for multiple opinions of the same author going out on the same day.

    Also, the SCOTUSblog people thought that King wouldn't be released until Friday, but then we got it today! So, this gives me some hope that Obergefell could still happen tomorrow even though decisions are to be released Monday as well. I think Glossip could totally go out on Monday with a couple of the other "minor" case decisions. I guess it all depends on whether they are finished writing the opinions/dissents.

  • 7. DACiowan  |  June 25, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    My gut feeling is that tomorrow we will get Glossip and three of the smaller cases, leaving Obergefell and one other minor case for Monday. However, that is merely a hunch I have.

  • 8. tigris26  |  June 25, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Yeah, I have no scientific reasoning for Obergefell to come out tomorrow…I just really, REALLY want it to. I don't think I can mentally wait another 3 days for the ruling! Waiting between Monday and today was difficult enough! But your hunch may be right.

  • 9. Silvershrimp0  |  June 25, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    I'm inclined to say it'll be tomorrow. Otherwise, why not just release 5 decisions on Monday? They did 6 at once just the other day. Plus it's been a high profile case that they've seen coming for over a year. I think they've had plenty of time to think about how they'll rule.

  • 10. guitaristbl  |  June 25, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    They did hand down 6 but they were minor. Now they are all major pretty much. For example today they handed down 2 decisions but they have got more attention and coverage than the 6 the other day.
    Of course even if they did handle them all down, Obergefell would be in the spotlight but still to bring with it who has the power to decide federal election districts in Arizona, the constitutionality of the residual clause in Armed Career Criminal Act, the constituonality of an execution drug with possibly wider implications and another EPA decision seems a bit much.

  • 11. mu2  |  June 25, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    We would all obviously like for it to come out tomorrow but realistically that's not a snowball's chance in hell. There is not any way they would toss Ober et al out tomorrow and hold 3 to 5 "minor" decisions until Monday. Ain't gonna happen.

  • 12. GregInTN  |  June 25, 2015 at 11:20 am

    Since four votes are needed to grant cert and only three justices voted to reverse the Fourth Circuit in the ACA case, did somebody end up in a different place after the case was heard than they expected when cert was granted?

  • 13. wes228  |  June 25, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Perhaps, or maybe one of them wanted to take the case just to stop similar cases from popping up in every single Circuit.

  • 14. mjnichol  |  June 25, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Perhaps some justice wanted to set a national precedence, knowing they would be on the winning side?

  • 15. ebohlman  |  June 25, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    From what I've heard, it's quite common that if three Justices want to grant cert, a fourth will join them purely as a courtesy.

  • 16. JayJonson  |  June 25, 2015 at 11:49 am

    Jury in JONAH trial rules unanimously that JONAH is guilty of fraud in promising to change defendants sexual orienation.

  • 17. A_Jayne  |  June 25, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Fabulous news!!!

    I'll read the article to find out what kind of damages they will pay – if that's been decided yet…

  • 18. RnL2008  |  June 25, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Wow, that was a quick verdict from the jury, wasn't it? Not that I disagree with the verdict, but I just saw how the Lawyer for the defendants called the plaintiff's flat out liars……and the fact is that one's orientation CAN'T be changed, all it can do is be denied

  • 19. FredDorner  |  June 25, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    That unanimous decision in a civil trial is a good indication of where this issue is headed in the rest of the country. The $72K fine isn't huge, but there will be attorneys fees too.

  • 20. mu2  |  June 25, 2015 at 11:51 am

    I'm not very happy with the "Fair Housing" decision, I can see this precipitating a lot of frivolous lawsuits being brought by people with bad credit or other factors making them bad risks…and thanks to the SC lowering the bar for filing them, costing perfectly honest and decent people lots of money defending them.

  • 21. mu2  |  June 25, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    I see that several EoT denizens aren't happy with my advocacy for fairness. Not a big surprise.

  • 22. Nyx  |  June 25, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    I'll take the bait… . Of course it's not surprising it's not the opinion of those who frequently post on this site. The divide and conquer strategy you are attempting on this issue is not a good political trait. Of course, that is only my personal opinion.

  • 23. VIRick  |  June 25, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    "…. my advocacy for fairness."

    When/where were you advocating for fairness?????? If you were, I completely missed it.

  • 24. seannynj  |  June 25, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    Why are you so unhappy with the decision? It doesn't grant the plantiffs anymore rights than they had before the case. Those "frivolous lawsuits" you mentioned should have been happening for decades now. .

  • 25. sfbob  |  June 25, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    I fail to see how the consequences you suggest could possibly follow from this decision. The decision has to do with the application of laws which, while they may not facially discriminate, in practice lead to discriminatory outcomes. One of my favorite recent Supreme Court quotes goes as follows: "A tax on yarmulkes is a tax on Jews." On its face such a law would not SAY it is imposing a tax only on Jews but since only (orthodox) Jews wear yarmulkes that is the effect and such an effect would be de facto discrimination.

    For what it's worth until I retired at the beginning of the year I worked for HUD for nearly forty years. Although I did not work in the office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity I had to be somewhat conversant with what went on there. I did not work in DC; the cases that were brought to my office tended to be landlord-tenant disputes. Complaints challenging statutes tended of course to be dealt with at the headquarters level. On the other hand I had to deal on a regular basis that either already were financed using Low Income Housing Tax Credits (or LIHTC's as those of us in the industry tend to call them) or else were in competition to receive LIHTC's.

    LIHTC's are of limited availability; each state is permitted to develop a schema for deciding which projects will qualify for them by rating projects based on criteria such as location, proximity to transit, local government support, an identified need in a communities affordable housing strategy and so on. It is entirely possible that a state will either intentionally or unintentionally develop a process for awarding LIHTCs that is discriminatory. For example one can envision that the state's scoring criteria would be such projects in heavily minority neighborhoods would tend to score lower and therefore be less likely receive tax credits (even though such projects are in fact precisely the sorts of things the entire program is intended to help produce). If there is no other alternative than the conclusion will be that while some might perceive it as unfair the rating scheme is not discriminatory. In the current case that simply was not so; clear alternatives existed which the state refused or failed to consider. This has nothing at all to do with bad credit or other sorts of "bad risk" decisions. It has nothing in fact to do with somehow interfering with legitimate business decisions and certainly there is nothing in the decision to suggest that anyone with a grudge could bring a suit based on this decision and have any chance of being successful. In fact it affects not individual renters or home purchasers but developers and state agencies only. The more general notion of disparate impact is not at all a novel concept and nothing about the decision is going to change how it operates.

  • 26. jcmeiners  |  June 25, 2015 at 11:57 am

    And Scalia had another angry rant from the bench. Someone should remind him that his mental health care coverage is second to none. Or, perhaps, that the constitution requires him to show "good behavior" while in office.

  • 27. josejoram  |  June 25, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    In the mean time:

  • 28. flyerguy77  |  June 25, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    I have a question, Does the justice who is writing the majority decision can choose what day they release the decision if its finished? I believe they will release the decision tomorrow.. have a gut feeling and its 26th, and also I have not read/ seen where the court released a decision on a Friday..(unless its an emergency decision based on an emergency/ urgent case)

  • 29. wes228  |  June 25, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    No, because all dissents and concurrences must be in too.

  • 30. flyerguy77  |  June 25, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    I meant finished….. including the dissents and concurrence opinions..

  • 31. VIRick  |  June 25, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    OK, it's time for some gratuitous slavering at the hunk-fest sub-titled "undress to impress:"
    PHOTOS: Sitges Pride (near Barcelona) Is Heaven on Earth
    For some unknown reason, the chrome-plated jock-strap in picture #80 got my attention, as did the pose in #87.

  • 32. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  June 25, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    Of course I had to go look! I think I need to plan a trip to that Pride in the near future.

  • 33. VIRick  |  June 25, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    Ryan, we'd better go together so as to keep track of each other!

    Usually, when I post these slide show Pride Fest eye-openers, the best cuties and hotties are featured in the first few pics. But at Sitges, there are just sooooooo many, scattered throughout the entire presentation!

  • 34. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  June 25, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Two previous "landmark" gay rights cases were delivered by the court – Lawrence v. Texas in 2003 and Windsor v. United States in 2013 – on the same day: June 26th! And now, on June 26th, the SCOTUS will release opinions in one or more of the 5 cases that remain. Is Justice Kennedy going to have a triple play writing three landmark opinions and have them all be delivered on the same month/day of the year???

    Ugh, I'm going to be on a plane from Paris, France, to Miami, FL, during the 10am ET decision announcements.

  • 35. wes228  |  June 25, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    They have wifi on planes now! I flew last January for the first time in years and was shocked!

  • 36. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  June 26, 2015 at 12:52 am

    My last few times crossing the pond (i.e. Atlantic Ocean), I haven't had the wifi. I can only hope that it's on the plane and at 10am EDT I can log on and watch SCOTUSblog to read Amy say that Lyle said Justice Kennedy has the option for the court in Obergefell.

  • 37. Fortguy  |  June 25, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    Alexa Ura, The Texas Tribune: Paxton to County Clerks: Wait for Direction on Gay Marriage

    The article quotes Texas AG Ken Paxton as saying, "I remain prayerful that the Court will heed millennia of family tradition, Judeo-Christian instruction and common sense and will respect the role of states."

    Neel Lane, who represents the two plaintiff couples in the De Leon case responds, "Attorney generals aren’t supposed to be in the business of praying but in the business of interpreting the law, and in this case the Supreme Court is going to be quite clear when it rules."

    I couldn't have said it better.

  • 38. RnL2008  |  June 25, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    Nice…..and it's true……AG's are suppose to follow the laws and Constitution, NOT prayers and some religious Deity.

  • 39. RnL2008  |  June 25, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    From the article:
    Texas' ban defines marriage in the state constitution as "solely the union of one man and one woman." If the Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage, Paxton said the state must "reflect" on the ruling to determine "how to proceed consistent with the rule of law."

    The ruling from SCOTUS is going to be quite clear and Paxton will have NO recourse but to follow the binding precedent with regards to providing marriage licenses to those individuals who wish to marry someone of the same gender as themselves!!!

  • 40. 1grod  |  June 25, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    Does a US Supreme Court decision come into effect immediately? What happens to cases that are before other circuit courts. Obergefell et al is a 6th circuit case. What about cases that are before the 1st, 11th, 5th etc? Do those courts need to act before the Supremes' decision comes into effect?

  • 41. flyerguy77  |  June 25, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    If it's a great good decision it means the cases from `1st, 11th, 5th, and 8th will become void. It depends on how broad the decision too..

  • 42. SethInMaryland  |  June 25, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    yes correct but the 5th would have remand the Louisiana Case , which it may take a little while in that state before marriages start because the judge may rescues himself from signing the order

  • 43. Silvershrimp0  |  June 25, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    Would clerks/judges in other jurisdictions still have qualified immunity after a Supreme Court ruling striking down bans on same sex marriage if they weren't yet directly subject to an injunction?

  • 44. DrBriCA  |  June 25, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    I believe any clerk in Louisiana would be on solid ground if someone tried to hold them accountable for issuing licenses to same-sex marriages. The state (re: Jindal) might try and stop the clerk, but any legal action would quickly fall in court based on the SCOTUS ruling.

    Any clerk who doesn't want to issue licenses immediately might be able to hold out until the district decision is reversed, but again they'd be in trouble once someone takes them to court on it.

    Of course, there is the one district/parish ruling from the state court system that ruled the ban unconstitutional, so that judge could immediately lift the stay on his judgment and that part of the state would have to follow his orders even sooner than the rest.

  • 45. RnL2008  |  June 26, 2015 at 12:54 am

    I can understand some States may still have procedural issues to deal with, but they should be resolved hopefully without to much delay.

    I'm more concerned with States like Alabama with Moore and possibly with Texas, the other states who still might cause delays would be Kansas, Missouri and then Tennessee.

    I personally would love to be a fly on the wall to hear a rant by Justice Scalia……maybe it will be better than the one in 2013.

  • 46. brandall  |  June 25, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    Cases that were put on hold "pending a SCOTUS decision" still have to worked through the procedural process for a final judgement. A state could decide to throw up their hands and just issue licenses. This is why many of the Plaintiff's in pending cases try to keep moving forward to insure there are no "new" arguments that could delay or stall the pending state case (read as "religious liberty").

  • 47. VIRick  |  June 26, 2015 at 12:06 am

    " Do those courts need to act before the Supremes' decision comes into effect?"

    Yes and No.

    Yes, from the narrower, legalistic viewpoint (one which certain clerks and states which are not overly enthused about marriage equality may prefer to take), but one which may not take more than a few days or a week to finalize.

    No, from the broader, big-picture viewpoint, as no clerk could possibly be prosecuted for following the decision of the Supreme Court,– with the possible exception of Louisiana where the District Court decision upholding the ban still needs to be reversed, a process which could drag on into August.

  • 48. VIRick  |  June 25, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    Tennessee is another state where state authorities have done absolutely nothing in preparation for the impending Supreme Court ruling. Again, they're playing the same foolish "wait and see" game, just like the Texas AG. In the meantime, Tennessee officials have offered zero guidance and direction to county clerks, have not prepared a contingency plan, and have not even bothered to do anything about up-dating application forms to something more gender-neutral.

    On the other hand, Georgia is clear to go, and has already stated that they'll be in compliance. Fulton County (Atlanta) is prepared for hosting mass ceremonies for same-sex couples on Announcement Day. Any Georgia resident can obtain their license from any county in the state, and there is no waiting period.

    And Ohio is clear to go, and will be in compliance, particularly now that the governor has stated that the state will abide by a pro-marriage SCOTUS decision. All the counties in central Ohio and those in and around Cincinnati (and likely statewide) are ready, and are prepared with gender-neutral forms, effective from Announcement Day.

    In Mississippi, same-sex couples have been staking out various county courthouses for the past several weeks, including those in Jackson and Hattiesburg, in anticipation of a positive ruling. If necessary, I understand they're prepared to press the issue come Announcement Day.

    In Alabama, all of the Jefferson County (Birmingham) Probate Judges are more than ready to immediately follow Supreme Court orders once SCOTUS rules, and thus, resume issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. (No mention of Roy Moore, and never mind the outcome of the pending appeal before the 11th Circuit Court).

    In Michigan, Calhoun County (Battle Creek), among others, will be ready on Announcement Day.

  • 49. VIRick  |  June 25, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    North Texas Clerks Prepare for Court Decision on Same-Sex Marriage

    With a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage expected as early as Friday, county clerks in North Texas are making early preparations for the possibility of issuing marriage licenses.

    In Dallas County, hours will be extended at the downtown county clerk's office, and there will be extra staff on hand if the court decides states cannot ban same-sex marriage. But first, the Dallas County clerk must get the go-ahead from District Attorney Susan Hawk. "If the opinion comes down at 9 AM and the D.A. says, 'You have a clear path, the Supreme Court has overturned the ban, you can issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple,' we will start within an hour or so," said Dallas County Clerk John Warren.

    In Tarrant County (Ft. Worth), spokesman Marc Flake released a statement, saying in part: "The Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office has indicated they will inform our office if there is a change to laws governing the issuance of a marriage license between persons of the same sex. In the event such a notification is received, there will be no unnecessary delay in issuing such a license."

    Note: No one mentioned anything about consulting with Texas AG Paxton on this matter.

  • 50. 1grod  |  June 26, 2015 at 2:53 am

    Rick, as usual, you provide a wealth of helpful information and insightful opinion. How do you keep current? And taking the time to post! You and many others are the reason why I have daily turned to this site. Thank you all. G.

  • 51. RnL2008  |  June 26, 2015 at 3:56 am

    3 hours and counting……damn, I hope the ruling is handed down soon.

  • 52. josejoram  |  June 26, 2015 at 6:35 am

    25 minutes from now…

  • 53. RnL2008  |  June 26, 2015 at 6:39 am

    Yes, soon…unless Justice Scalia pulls a stunt like he did in the Windsor ruling!!!

  • 54. wes228  |  June 26, 2015 at 6:42 am

    What stunt was that?

  • 55. RnL2008  |  June 26, 2015 at 6:44 am

    When he went on a rant over his dissent like for an hour and half.

  • 56. josejoram  |  June 26, 2015 at 7:11 am

    WE WON!

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