#MarriageFriday: What to Expect

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January 7, 2015
Jon W. Davidson

Friday is a big day for marriage equality.

First, the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in three marriage cases — one of which is our Louisiana case, Robicheaux v. Caldwell, in which we and our co-counsel at Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann, L.L.C., the Law Office of Richard G. Perque, and Landry & Spivey represent seven same-sex couples and Forum for Equality Louisiana.

Presenting the arguments for our plaintiffs will be our Marriage Project Director, Camilla Taylor, who also argued and won our Indiana marriage case at the 7th Circuit, and was the architect of our successful marriage cases in Illinois and Iowa.

The Court convenes Friday at 9 a.m. Central. The Court has allotted three hours for argument (one hour per case), which will roll out like this:

  1. Louisiana (Camilla Taylor of Lambda Legal  on behalf of seven same-sex couples and Forum for Equality Louisiana)
  2. Mississippi (Roberta Kaplan of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP on behalf of two same-sex couples and Campaign for Southern Equality)
  3. Texas (Neel Lane of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP  on behalf of two same-sex  couples).

Also on Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hold its first conference of the new year and will be considering whether it will take up any of the marriage cases on appeal from the 6th Circuit:

  • Ohio: Obergefell v. Hodges and Henry v. Hodges (docket 14-556), being handled by Lambda Legal, the ACLU and private counsel at Gerhardstein & Branch.
  • Michigan: DeBoer v. Snyder (docket 14-571), being handled by GLAD and private counsel.
  • Tennessee: Tanco v. Haslam (docket 14-562), being handled by NCLR and private counsel.
  • Kentucky: Bourke v. Beshear (docket 14-574), being handled by the ACLU and private counsel.

Also on deck for the Supreme Court’s consideration is Robicheaux v. George (docket 14-596). This is the same case that Lambda Legal will be arguing in the 5th Circuit on Friday. It might seem a little confusing for some, but in November we filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari before Judgment in that case.  This is a somewhat unusual procedural request to have the Supreme Court hear a case that has not yet been decided by a federal appellate court.  Such a request can be granted when there are good reasons not to wait for a decision by the court of appeals, as is the case here where consideration of the Robicheaux appeal along with one or more of the 6th Circuit appeals could be helpful to the Court.  

After the Supreme Court’s conference on Friday, it could announce which cases it has taken, or it could wait until Monday morning to release its orders, or it could hold over some or all of the cases for consideration at a later conference. 

Whatever happens, we’ll keep you posted, as our thrilling progress toward nationwide marriage equality continues to move forward.