The U.S. Supreme Court held its first conference of the 2012-13 term on Sept. 24 and released its first list of cases to be heard this year.
There was no word from the High Court on the California case that involves a challenge to the state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. The amendment was passed by voters on Proposition 8 in November 2008.
Parties in the case said that means that the Justices are either are waiting to consider any and all gay marriage cases filed with the Court before deciding which ones to hear or the Court has decided to let the lower court ruling stand.
In the case of Proposition 8, two courts – a federal district court and a federal appeals court – have ruled the marriage ban unconstitutional.
Some 8,000 cases are carried to the Supreme Court each term but the Court will only hear oral arguments in 70 to 80 cases. At least four Justices must agree for a case to advance to oral arguments.
American Foundation for Equal Rights, the group challenging Prop 8, has offered several scenarios for what might happen when the Justices discussion Prop 8:
• The Justices could decide not to hear the Proposition 8 case. If that is the Court’s decision, an announcement could be issued in early October that the appeals court finding that the amendment is unconstitutional stands. After that, same-sex couples could again marry in California.
• The Justices, meeting Oct. 1, could vote to hear the Proposition 8 case. The next announcement of such a decision would probably be Oct. 2, the day after the conference.
If the High Court takes the case, oral arguments likely will be scheduled in early 2013 and a decision released in June or July 2013.
• The Justices could continue to delay a decision on whether to take Prop 8, possibly to await the filing of other marriage related cases on track for the High Court.