Under the right circumstances, US Supreme Court could hear same-sex marriage cases by fall

A journalist who has covered the U.S. Supreme Court for more than five decades outlined today the circumstances that could entice the Court to begin considering some of the cases. Among them is the one involving the Idaho ban on same-sex marriage that a federal judge ruled "unconstitutional" last week.

"At the pace we have seen in recent weeks, I believe there will be more than one of these cases reaching the Supreme Court by this fall," said Lyle Denniston, of SCOTUSblog.com.

Denniston, according to the blog, "has covered one-quarter of all of the Justices ever to sit, and he has reported on the entire careers on the bench of ten of the Justices. He has been a journalist of the law for sixty-six years, beginning that career at the Otoe County Courthouse in Nebraska City, Neb., in the fall of 1948. He is not an attorney."

Action in the lower courts will influence what happens. "If there is a split among the appeals courts, I think it is highly likely that the Court will agree to hear one of the cases. If there is no split, and all of the decisions are against the bans, I think the Court will opt to stay on the sidelines in the meantime," Denniston said.

On Tuesday, the Statesman's editorial board opined on the U.S. Supreme Court's "inaction" regarding same-sex marriage bans and cases that have become the subject of federal court rulings in 13 states now. On the same page today, Richard Seamon, a University of Idaho law professor, offered a Guest Opinion that looked at a 1972 same-sex marriage case. Seamon wrote "The current string of rulings striking down gay marriage bans raises an important question about the U.S. Supreme Court's authority."

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