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October 1, 2012

NCLR Analysis: Latest on LGBT Cases at the Supreme Court—What to Expect and When

As was widely expected, the Supreme Court today declined to take any action on three important cases involving the rights of same-sex couples, including the challenge to California’ Proposition 8 and one of several challenges to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  (See my Huffington Post blog post for a preview of the Court’s LGBT cases this term.) At this point, we still do not have any information about whether the Court will take any of these cases, or whether it will let the lower court decisions stand.

Instead, the Court will decide later this fall whether to take these three cases, as well as three additional DOMA challenges on its fall docket.  Although the Court could announce whether it will take the Prop 8 case or any of the other cases on almost any Monday in the coming weeks, many believe that it will postpone all of these LGBT equality cases until the parties have finished filing their briefs in latest-filed of the DOMA cases, so that it can consider all of the cases at the same time.  If that prediction holds true, then based on the current schedule (which can change depending on when the parties choose to file their papers), the LGBT cases would not be considered until the Court’s November 20 conference at the earliest.

One other point to keep in mind is that the Court can reschedule cases multiple times.  So just because one of the cases that were originally on the September 24 conference agenda is rescheduled for say, the Friday, October 26 conference, that does not necessarily mean we will have an answer from the Court on Monday, October 29.  The Court could decide to postpone the case again.

For more information, see our FAQ.

Read Chris Stoll’s Huffington Post piece: LGBT Rights Take Center Stage at the Supreme Court.

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