Emma Margolin of MSNBC lists five reasons why she believes the Supremes will take a same-sex marriage case. The Supremes will consider cases from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin when they meet on Sept. 29. At that conference they can decide to take one or more cases, refuse all cases, or postpone a decision. Margolin sees five reasons why they'll take at least one of the cases.
1. When a decision at the Circuit Court level is appealed, it is the losers who do the appealing. This time both sides appealed (the gay side is confident of a win). In addition, lots of groups are urging the justices to settle the issue. That included 32 states, some for and some against, and various corporations and religious groups.
2. Momentum – Eighty cases have been filed in the year since last year's pro-gay ruling by the Supremes. 41 of those cases have had a ruling at some judicial level and 39 of them have been in our favor. While there isn't a split between Circuits, this number of cases shows the matter is of public importance, one of the criteria for accepting a case.
3. Back in July Justice Ginsberg said, "If a case is properly before the court, they will take it."
4. Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the 9th Circuit recently ruled in the Idaho and Nevada cases. He predicts the Supremes will take the case because when Justice Kennedy ruled a year ago he left intact a conflict between state's rights and the dignity of gays and lesbians.
5. The Supremes have issued stays for several state cases, starting with Utah. It doesn't make sense for them to issue a stay and then not take the case. Why block the marriages, then unblock them a few months later without a hearing?
This past Tuesday Ginsberg spoke at the University of Minnesota Law School. During that talk she said to look at the 6th Circuit – the Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee cases. If the 6th Circuit rules against us it would force the Supremes to take the case. If the 6th Circuit follows the 4th, 9th, and 10th Circuits then there is "no need for us to rush." Is this a prediction that the 6th Circuit will rule against us?
Ginsberg also talked about her friendship with Antonin Scalia (they frequently go to the opera together) and joked about plans to write a comic opera with the title "Scalia/Ginsberg."
The Macarthur Genius Grants for 2014 were recently announced. These are awards of $625,000 paid to individuals the Macarthur Foundation considers worthy based on past accomplishments. Two of this year's winners are from our community.
Mary Bonauto was the lead lawyer in the cases that resulted in civil unions in Vermont in 2000, in marriage equality in Massachusetts in 2004, and the Windsor case that was decided last year overturning part of the Defense of Marriage Act and gave rise to the flurry of marriage equality cases that have arrived on the Supremes' doorstep. Her work put a solid foundation under all those cases.
Alison Bechdel wrote the comic-strip Dykes to Watch Out For (1983-2008) and has published memoirs in comic-book form that describe the complex relationship with her father.