While speaking at the University of Minnesota Law School, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stated that the Supreme Court is closely watching the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling on same sex marriage rights. Justice Ginsburg said, “There will be some urgency” for the Supreme Court to make a decision as to same sex marriage rights if the Sixth Circuit upholds the ban on same sex marriage. Further, she said there is “[no] need for us to rush, if the Sixth Circuit continues the legal trend overturning the bans on same sex marriage.
Justice Ginsburg’s comments make sense, because if the Sixth Circuit overturns the ban on same sex marriage, there is no issue for the Supreme Court to decide. With few exceptions, over two dozen courts, including the highest state courts and federal circuit courts, have overwhelming determined the bans on same sex marriage are unconstitutional. There have been a few lower level state and federal courts to uphold the ban, but those are also in the process of appeals. If the Sixth Circuit were to decide the bans as constitutional, there would be a split among the courts and the Supreme Court would need to step in and make a final determination more quickly to help settle the law.
Thus, all eyes are on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Although its decision will affect Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee, the impact of the decision will be felt by the entire country.
Ginsburg, Justice Ruth Bader, Ginsburg: Watch 6th Circuit on gay marriage, The Washington Post, September 16, 2014.