No Action Today from Supreme Court on DOMA, Prop 8 Cases


The Supreme Court did not release a decision today following its conference on DOMA and Proposition 8 cases.

Writes Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog:

The Supreme Court, after taking most of the day to prepare new orders, took no action Friday on the ten same-sex marriage cases now on the docket.  It did agree to rule on whether taking a human gene out of the body is a process that can be patented.  It also agreed to rule on legal protection for makers of generic drugs.

The next opportunity for the Court to issue orders will be at 9:30 a.m. Monday.  Nothing has ruled out the possibility that some actions on same-sex marriage could be announced at that time, although there is no indication that that will occur.  It may be that the Court needs more time to decide what it wants to do next on any of the cases.

And this analysis comes from Lambda Legal's Jon Davidson, via journalist Rex Wockner, on what's next:

1.  The Court may announce on Monday that there are additional cases that it has decided to review. There are a number of reasons that the Court may not have felt ready to announce what it is doing today. It could be that the justices needed additional time to craft the language of the order or orders in one or more cases they have decided to hear. (For example, the Court can rewrite the questions they want the parties to address in the case or cases in which they have granted review from the way the parties phrased them in their petitions seeking review.)

2. The Court may announce on Monday some cases it has decided not to review. That might include one or more of the DOMA cases, Perry, or Diaz. Alternatively, the Court could wait to announce anything about any of these cases until the justices are ready to announce what action they have decided to take regarding all of them.

3. The Court may have decided that it needed to discuss the cases further before they can reach their decisions about which cases to hear. The Court's next scheduled conference is next Friday, December 7th. So, it may be that we will all be repeatedly hitting refresh again then (and keeping the dog waiting to be walked) to see if there are orders issued regarding these cases that day.

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  1. Parkinson's Third Law: Delay is the deadliest form of denial.

    Posted by: Rich | Nov 30, 2012 3:33:41 PM

  2. I'm not a legal scholar at all, and generally on posts regarding the legality of and court decisions and reviews regarding DOMA/Prop 8/etc., I just take everything in and read what the more knowledgeable are saying. But I really want to much longer can/will SCOTUS keep punting on this? How many more delays will there be?

    Posted by: Francis | Nov 30, 2012 3:34:57 PM

  3. I guess I'm just too impatient, but this made me angry that they have delayed these cases once again. My morning has been wasted on refreshing my browser for the latest info of nothing.

    Posted by: idafunkit | Nov 30, 2012 3:35:31 PM


    Posted by: Johnny | Nov 30, 2012 3:36:41 PM

  5. They are USELESS ! They ignored the human rights of millions of Americans but they did make a decision to look at the cases that involved making money ! Typical GREEDY, self serving American values !

    The Supreme Court is corrupt and right wing biased. We need to get rid of it. It does not work for the majority - it only works for business and big money.

    Today is another sad day for democracy.

    Posted by: Icebloo | Nov 30, 2012 3:39:19 PM

  6. Yes, what is the VERY latest they can possibly move on this - because my money is on that date.

    Posted by: Todd | Nov 30, 2012 3:39:24 PM

  7. These endless delays are taking a toll.
    There's no sense of urgency anywhere in the process.

    Posted by: devon charles | Nov 30, 2012 3:43:43 PM

  8. It was my understanding that their announcement likely wasn't going to come today anyway. Sometime next week would be my guess, but I'm also guessing they hold the prop 8 hearing until after DOMA cases are resolved.

    Posted by: Bruno | Nov 30, 2012 3:43:55 PM

  9. It was my understanding that their announcement likely wasn't going to come today anyway. Sometime next week would be my guess, but I'm also guessing they hold the prop 8 cert decision until after DOMA cases are resolved.

    Posted by: Bruno | Nov 30, 2012 3:44:04 PM

  10. There is so much hype over these dates- the ones in October, and the several in November. I did hear a commentor on NPR who described it best: basically, they don't have a deadline to take up these cases and they can let them languish as long as they want. My bet is that they won't be making any decision on whether or not to hear these cases on Monday. I bet they'll take til next year to decide in whether or not to hear.

    Posted by: Scott | Nov 30, 2012 3:44:20 PM

  11. It was never likely the decision was going to be released today. That is likely to occur on Monday. There are scheduled dates when they release orders following scheduled conferences. This is not delay, but routine.

    Posted by: Stefan | Nov 30, 2012 3:44:42 PM

  12. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Think if they had heard the case last year, when "the people" had voted it down every single time. Now, after the 4 for 4 last month the tides are definitely turning. It will be much harder to rule against it when additional states (IL? NJ?) vote for it.

    Posted by: Dan | Nov 30, 2012 3:46:19 PM

  13. Oh come on, give us our equal rights already!

    Posted by: Jester | Nov 30, 2012 3:54:51 PM

  14. Can someone clear up a question I have about this...the SCOTUS held conference today on DOMA/Prop 8 but did not release its decision whether to hear the cases? Is that basically what happened? Or did SCOTUS not have time to hold conference and thus pushed it back yet again?

    Posted by: Barca | Nov 30, 2012 3:54:57 PM

  15. All of these "experts" who have been telling us to expect a decision today: STFU until you actually know something!

    Posted by: niles | Nov 30, 2012 3:56:53 PM

  16. Justice deferred is justice denied.

    Stop denying BGLTs their justice.

    Posted by: Not Scalia | Nov 30, 2012 3:59:09 PM

  17. Thanks Bruno and Stefan. I feel a little better now.

    Posted by: Francis | Nov 30, 2012 4:01:42 PM

  18. I had another comment about how we need to stop obsessing about this until they actually make a decision but it was deleted (hopefully a technical problem). Instead, I will agree with Niles: its time for AFER and Buzzfeed and The Blade and even Towleroad to just STFU up until the decision to take up the cases are actually made. To be honest, I always thought we would have to wait until next week. It wasn't until Wednesday that people began hyping today as the today. Now I am going to consider every day to NOT be the day. That way I will be pleasantly surprised when they actually make a decision. I expect that to be in March sometime.

    Posted by: KP | Nov 30, 2012 4:06:15 PM

  19. I thought if they didn't take the case today that all circuit court decisions stand???? Did I read Ezra wrong?

    Posted by: Darren in atl | Nov 30, 2012 4:10:07 PM

  20. Darren in ATL, if they decide to not take the cases that is correct. However, they did not decide today whether or not they are taking the cases. We might find out on Monday but maybe not then. Everything is still up in the air.

    Posted by: KP | Nov 30, 2012 4:12:00 PM

  21. Thanks, KP! I had thought that today was the last day they could decide. Guess I read something wrong. Oh, the wait! But its been 50 years so far, guess I can wait another few months. KP, do you know how long they can "not" answer as to whether they will take the case? Can this go into perpetuity?

    Posted by: Darren in atl | Nov 30, 2012 4:35:36 PM

  22. "However, they did not decide today whether or not they are taking the cases."

    This is what I'm confused about. Who is even confirming this? I thought the meetings were closed door. It sounds like nothing more then speculation.

    Honestly I never expected them to release the decision today. Monday is the day the country is expecting (for gatherings, rallies, etc.), so they don't want to abruptly change it as such.

    Posted by: Stefan | Nov 30, 2012 4:42:23 PM

  23. "All of these "experts" who have been telling us to expect a decision today: STFU until you actually know something!"

    I don't recall any legal expert definitively saying that they would announce their decision today. In fact, I recall several stating that the more likely outcome would be to hear their decision the following week, e.g. Monday.

    Posted by: Nat | Nov 30, 2012 4:45:46 PM

  24. There is no legal deadline by which they have to decide whether to hear these cases. It could be next week, or next month, or later. Because there are several inter-related cases, their "Order" is likely to be more than just one sentence in terms of what they are going to do, with what cases, and when.

    For those who think it's fairly certain that the Supreme Court will find DOMA unconstitutional, read TowleRoad's link to the federal court case decided just yesterday in Nevada. You may not agree with the Nevada court ruling that finds no equal protection violation where Nevada recognizes same-sex domestic partnerships but refuses to allow (or recognize) same-sex marriages -- but that court ruling contains some of the very argument that 5 Supreme Court Justice could apply in UPHOLDING DOMA.

    I hope they don't do that, but the Nevada case is a blueprint for what could happen.

    Posted by: MiddleoftheRoader | Nov 30, 2012 4:46:34 PM

  25. Why does SCOTUS continue to heavily favor corporate interests over the People of the United State?

    First it ruled that "corporations are people too" now it is choosing to ignore our real needs, as LGBT citizens, and rule on business issues instead. It feels like a slap in the face especially since they don't appear to be moving on it Monday either.

    Where is our Equality already!?

    Posted by: Chrisme | Nov 30, 2012 4:55:16 PM

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