Update Jun 17: And the wait continues…
Update: Per SCOTUSblog, four opinions are in, none of them one of the same-sex marriage cases. That’s it for today — the court has recessed until Monday, when we’ll be back here again on Prop. 8/DOMA watch.
(The court did issue a significant ruling on gene patenting, with potentially big implications for the biotech industry.)
There’s a possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court will release its decisions on either Proposition 8, the Defense of Marriage Act, or both this morning, around 7 a.m. PDT. It’s not very likely, according to inveterate SCOTUS watchers. But, on the other hand, people have made entire careers out of unsuccessfully trying to predict what the high court will do. So, here we are, monitoring.
SCOTUSblog, which almost always is first in reporting the decisions, has begun live blogging. Here’s a list from the site of all the cases that are still outstanding from the October 2012 term. (There’s a major decision on an affirmative action case that could come down today.)
Prop. 8, of course, is California’s same-sex marriage ban that was struck down on narrow grounds by the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals. Should SCOTUS uphold that decision, same-sex marriages could begin again in California in mid- to-late July, according to San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s office. (San Francisco was an intervenor in the case on the plaintiff’s side.) If the court uses the case to issue a more sweeping ruling that all same-sex marriage bans are illegal, that would effectively legalize same-sex marriage throughout the country. There are many in-between possibilities as well.
DOMA is a 1996 federal law that defines marriage as between only a man and a woman. It prevents those who are in same-sex marriages from receiving a host of federal benefits, such as the ability to file a joint tax return. In the case before the court, a widow was forced to pay $363,000 in inheritance taxes after her female spouse died, a liability she would not have incurred if she’d been married to a man. A federal appeals court ruled that provision of DOMA was unconstitutional. Another provision, requiring states to recognize only opposite-sex marriages performed in other states, is not at issue here.