The U.S. Supreme Court, ultimate decider that it is, can choose to hear whatever cases it wants to hear. You can make a lot of predictions by simply looking at what cases the Court does not decide to hear.
Because the Nov. 2012 elections involved the legalization of same-sex marriage in three states, including Maryland, news outlets are closely watching the Court to see whether or not it will add two same-sex marriage cases to its schedule.
As Terry Baynes reports for Reuters, one case involves the U.S. Defense of Marriage Act’s denial of federal benefits to same-sex couples, and the other a federal court’s ruling that the California ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
As of today, the Court still has not added these cases to its schedule, although that could change from week to week.
Baynes explains the Court’s process: “The justices meet at regular weekly sessions to decide which cases to add to their calendar. They vote in order of seniority, and while it takes five of the nine for a majority decision in a dispute, it takes only four votes to add a case to the agenda and schedule oral arguments.”
If the Court ultimately decides not to hear both of the cases described above, the California ban on same-sex marriage could disappear, which would again allow same-sex couples to get married in that state. At the same time, the denial of federal benefits to same-sex couples under the U.S. Defense of Marriage Act would continue.