Supreme Court Family Law News - U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Supreme Court - The FindLaw U.S. Supreme Court Opinion Summaries Blog

Recently in Family Law Category

Better late than never, though we're sure the Court would've rather the issue of gay marriage had been addressed never. Avoiding the issue might've been possible, had the circuit courts stayed in concert. Now, the Supreme Court may not have a choice.

A few months back, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that the Sixth Circuit could force the Court's hand if it upheld gay marriage bans. Yesterday afternoon, it did just that, upholding bans in four states, calling RBG's bluff and putting SCOTUS in for all its chips.

Now, with a circuit split in place, and the ACLU already preparing their petition for certiorari (apparently en banc isn't happening?), the Court has to decide the issue of whether the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees marriage equality -- doesn't it?

Well, this is quite a way to kick of SCOTUS Week at FindLaw, isn't it? This morning, the Supreme Court shocked the nation by denying certiorari in all of the pending gay marriage cases. The orders were handed down with no warning, no elaboration, and no dissent.

In retrospect, the denials shouldn't have been that shocking: While the issue is of major nationwide importance, there is no circuit split yet, and every federal appeals court to consider the issue since Windsor has ruled in favor of marriage equality. The Court's denial is simply an exercise of restraint -- if they don't have to touch the issue, they apparently won't.

In the coming days, we'll be doing a circuit-by-circuit review of the Court's major cases that they did take, but for today, we're going to stick to the major ramifications of the Court's non-decision in the marriage cases.

Last week, we blogged about the Big Fall Conference (aka long conference) at the U.S. Supreme Court. After a summer's worth of backlog clogs up the docket with around 2,000 certiorari petitions, the clerks of the Court sort through the chaff, the justices review their recommendations, and less than one percent are granted cert.

Of the 1,845 listed for Monday's BFC, and SCOTUSblog's "Petitions We're Watching" list, here are a few that we're particularly interested in, covering everything from equality (in marriage and employment) to juvenile sentencing:

The U.S. Supreme Court has stayed the Fourth Circuit's decision in the Virginia gay marriage case, which means licenses won't be handed out to same-sex couples tomorrow. Anyone surprised by this? Thought so.

And despite a national trend toward increased support for same-sex marriage, at least one state is still staunchly opposed. Any guesses?

And finally, who wants to see a Supreme Court justice dump a bucket of ice water on his or her noggin? (Answer: We all do!)

Same-sex marriage: It's the hottest legal topic out there, one that despite a bit of issue fatigue, we end up covering every single day because there is some fascinating legal development at hand.

What's the latest on the many gay marriage appeals? After the Fourth Circuit declined to issue a stay in the Bostic case, where that court ruled against Virginia's gay marriage ban, state officials reached out to the U.S. Supreme Court for some timely intervention -- if no stay is issued, then gay marriage becomes legal in Virginia on Thursday.

Meantime, oral arguments in the Sixth Circuit, and a decision in a state court in one of that circuit's states, have drawn renewed attention to a decades-old order in which the Court already decided the gay marriage debate. But is it still valid?

We jokingly handicapped the race a few weeks ago, but man, it's like these states really are racing to be the first in line on the first day of proceedings at First Street.

As predicted, the first state to get an appeals court judgment against its ban, Utah, has filed its petition for certiorari. It was quickly joined by its fellow Tenth Circuit-er, Oklahoma, and by Virginia, which recently had its ban wiped out by the Fourth Circuit.

Here's how the three states shake out:

What a week! And we were worried that we'd be topic dry once the Supreme Court's summer session hit.

As is our usual Friday bit, we're going to do a roundup of Supreme Court-related headlines. This time, Utah is seeking a stay on "interim" marriages (same-sex couples married before the Supreme Court's grant of a stay), the Tenth Circuit rules against Oklahoma's ban, and Florida gets its first pro-gay marriage opinion.

And then there's California: foie gras and the death penalty.

Gay marriage is coming to the Supreme Court, sooner rather than later. And for the dozens of cases proceeding nationwide, expending resources to litigate on a state-by-state basis, the answer can't come soon enough.

How soon are we talking? Could it happen this year? And which state(s) will be the ones to get there? Utah will obviously be the first to file certiorari, as we noted last week, but will the court take the first case in the cert. pool?

Another year, another child abduction case in the Supreme Court.

This time, the issue is equitable tolling, or to put it in non-legal terms, whether a parent should benefit by hiding a kid away for more than the one-year period for presumptive return of the child.

Diana Montoya Alvarez absconded with her child, first to a battered women's shelter (there was a non-dispositive and disputed issue of abuse), then to France, then to the United States. Manual Lozano, the father, was unable to locate the child to initiate legal proceedings and seek a return until well after a year had passed.

Unless you have been spelunking for the past few months, you know that there is something pretty major going on in Utah right now.

A federal district court invalidated the state's ban on gay marriage and refused to stay the decision until the Tenth Circuit could hear the case. The Circuit Court also denied a stay, leading to an estimated 1,000 gay marriages being performed in the state before the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in and stayed the lower court's decision pending the Tenth Circuit's expedited appeal.