September 25, 2012 | by Chris Johnson
High court puts off decision on hearing Prop 8, DOMA cases

The U.S. Supreme Court has put off the decision on whether it will consider federal lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8.

According to a report issued on Tuesday, justices during their conference on Monday decided to grant writs of certiorari, or take up, six pending cases, but neither the challenge to Proposition 8, known as Hollingsworth v. Perry, nor the one the legal challenges against Section 3 of DOMA, Windsor v. United States, appeared on the list of lawsuits on which decisions were made. It remains to be seen whether the court will take up them up.

Both cases were docketed during the conference on Monday. The conference was the first time justices met to consider which cases they will hear over the course of the term starting this fall.

The next conference for the Supreme Court is set October 5. But according to an email to supporters from the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which is behind the Prop 8 lawsuit, justice meet nearly every week to determine the cases they will take up and the next time a decision could be announced is Monday at 9:30 am. At that time, the court is expected to release a list of cases it won’t hear this term.

If the Supreme Court decides not to the hear Prop 8 cases, it would have an immediate impact for gay couples living in California because they would be able to marry as soon as the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which had struck down Prop 8, issues a mandate saying the injunction against the anti-gay measure is in effect.

In addition to the marriage cases, other LGBT-relevant cases aren’t on the conference report, so whether or not the Supreme Court will consider them also remains to be seen. One is Diaz v. Brewer, in which Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) has appealed an injunction placed by a district court prohibiting her from enforcing a law taking away domestic partner benefits from state employees. Another pending case is National Organization for Marriage v. McKee, in which the anti-gay organization is challenging Maine disclosure laws requiring it to reveal donors regarding its involvement in the 2009 marriage ballot initiative in the state.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

2 Comments
  • “If the Supreme Court decides not to the hear Prop 8 cases, it would have an immediate impact for gay couples living in California because they would be able to marry as soon as the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which had struck down Prop 8, issues a mandate saying the injunction against the anti-gay measure is in effect.” I just wanted to point out that the 9th circuit has already issued this mandate; it will go into effect as soon as the Supreme Court declines to hear the case (if they end up denying cert.) If they agree to hear it, then all bets are off.

  • I thought the NOM Maine case was decided with SCOTUS denial of cert in February.

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