The U.S. Supreme Court made no announcement Tuesday on whether it will take up a case seeking marriage equality at its first conference of the term, making such a declaration unlikely until the beginning of next week at the earliest.
On the day after justices held their first conference of their initial term, no orders from the court were handed down on decisions made at that meeting.
That would likely indicate justices have put off making a decision on whether to take up one of the five lawsuits pending before the court seeking a constitutional right to same-sex marriage until a subsequent conference. However, it could mean a decision was in fact made to grant or deny certiorari, but justices are keeping the decisions to themselves for the time being.
Although the court has the prerogative to announce decisions on petitions for certiorari at any time, it traditionally has handed down orders on decisions made at the first conference of the term the subsequent day or the following Monday.
Jon Davidson, legal director for Lambda Legal, explained that an announcement from the court on petitions for certiorari is now unlikely until Oct. 6.
“The court’s usual practice in the past has been to announce orders from the ‘long conference’ of cert petitions filed over the summer on the first Monday in October (this year, Oct. 6) when its term starts, but that in the past it sometimes has announced the cert grants the day after the long conference if it wants to get briefs done in time to fill the early part of its calendar for the term,” Davidson said. “We have no inside information and cannot guarantee that they won’t issue orders from the long conference later this week, but our belief (echoed by others) is that they now won’t.”
U.S. Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has said publicly she believes there’s “no need to rush” on taking up a case unless the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issues a decision upholding bans on same-sex marriage, which would cause a circuit split if grouped with the unanimous rulings striking down such laws in five other states.
In the event the court didn’t make a decision on its initial conference, the next opportunity for justices to consider whether to take up one of the cases is the next conference on Oct. 10. After that meeting, the next scheduled conferences for this term are Oct. 17, Oct. 31, Nov. 7, Nov. 14, Nov. 25, Dec. 5, Dec. 12, Jan. 9, Jan. 16 and Jan. 23.