SCOTUS Announces It Will Not Hear Same-Sex Marriage Cases This Term

This morning SCOTUS  announced it will not hear any of the seven same-sex marriage cases as requested from the lower Circuits.  This likely means that there will be a spike in State’s that recognize same-sex marriages, particularly in the Circuits where these petitions for certioraroriginated from.  This is primarily because the States in those circuits are now bound by the decision of the relevant circuit court, including some states with unchallenged same-sex marriage bans (N. Carolina, S. Carolina, W. Virginia, Colorado, Kansas, and Wyoming.)   If you are interested in reading why this may be check out this informative article.

The Court released a full list of those cases it will hear and not hear.

One case the Court did grant certiorari on is a Habeas Corpus case (Lopez v. Smith) in which the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals failed follow the Court’s precedent regarding the Habeas Corpus standard set forth in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA).  The act holds that when an inmate  seeks federal relief of State Court denial of a petition for habeas corpus, the Federal Court may only overturn a State Court’s denial if the petitioner (inmate) establishes that the State’s decision was contrary to or involved an unreasonable application of clearly established Federal law as determined by the United State’s Supreme Court.

In Lopez, the district Court granted the petition for habeas corpus, the State appealed, and the 9th Circuit affirmed the lower Court’s decision.  The State then filed cert., with SCOTUS, who granted the cert., on the basis that the 9th Circuit failed to identify clearly established Federal law as determined by the United State’s Supreme Court.  The order granting review is reminder to the Circuit Courts and particularly the 9th Circuit that those Courts are bound by Supreme Court decisions.  The order also advised the lower courts not to take liberty framing issues in with a high level of generality.

In an update, the Supreme Court recently declined to hear Idaho’s appeal of a 9th Circuit decision declaring its ban on same-sex unconstitutional, which may pave way for Arizona to soon recognize same-sex marriages.


Tom Horne has stated he is not going to appeal an order from the Federal Court for the District of Arizona, striking down Arizona’s band on same-sex marriage and he has issued instructions to the Clerks of the County Courts to begin issuing marriage licenses immediately