Online extra: Justices set date to discuss marriage cases
by Lisa Keen
The U.S. Supreme Court docket today (Monday, October 29) announced that the eight Defense of Marriage Act cases, the Proposition 8 case, and a case involving benefits for gay employees in Arizona have all been scheduled for discussion by the justices on Tuesday, November 20. That means the court will likely announce on November 21 or soon thereafter whether it intends to take up one or more of the historic cases this session or allow the lower court decision to stand.
The DOMA cases distributed to the November 20 conference include BLAG v. Gill, HHS v. Massachusetts and Massachusetts v. HHS, OPM v. Golinski , U.S. v. Windsor and Windsor v. U.S. , Pederson v. OPM and OPM v. Pederson .
The court has also scheduled for the conference the Prop 8 case, now known as Hollingsworth v. Perry, and a case involving state benefits in Arizona, Brewer v. Diaz .
The justices originally scheduled the Prop 8 appeal for their September 24 conference but, without explanation, did not act on that case. Instead, on September 26, they posted a notice in the press room at the U.S. Supreme Court building, stating only that the case was "rescheduled" for a later conference meeting.
Theodore Olson, a lead attorney on the American Foundation for Equal Rights legal team that has won court victories striking down Prop 8, said at the time he assumed the court wanted to discuss the California same-sex marriage ban case in the same conference with the DOMA cases.
Therese Stewart, chief deputy city attorney for San Francisco, which also opposed Prop 8 in court, said the justices' rescheduling of Hollingsworth may also have been a move to ensure their handling of the marriage cases don't have "any impact on the election."