Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg today confirmed what many analysts have theorized when she said that marriage equality will likely not be heard in her court until federal appeals courts disagree on the issue. That hasn’t happened yet, but Ginsburg advised a Minnesota audience to therefore keep an eye on the Sixth Circuit. Via the Associated Press:
Ginsburg said cases pending before the circuit covering Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee would probably play a role in the high court’s timing. She said “there will be some urgency” if that appeals court allows same-sex marriage bans to stand. Such a decision would run contrary to a legal trend favoring gay marriage and force the Supreme Court to step in sooner, she predicted. She said if the appeals panel falls in line with other rulings there is “no need for us to rush.” Ginsburg didn’t get into the merits of any particular case or any state’s gay marriage ban, but she marveled at the “remarkable” shift in public perception of same-sex marriage that she attributes to gays and lesbians being more open about their relationships. Same-sex couples can legally wed in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Bans that have been overturned in some other states continue to make their way through the courts. “Having people close to us who say who they are – that made the attitude change in this country,” Ginsburg said at the University of Minnesota Law School.
The Sixth Circuit heard multiple marriage cases on August 4th. Most analysts concluded that the decision will be a split in either direction. As many have predicted, we’ll likely have to lose at the Sixth Circuit (or elsewhere) in order to finally get back in front of SCOTUS. The Court is scheduled to consider cases from five states (where we won) on September 29th.