Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 6th Circuit same-sex marriage ruling could predict SCOTUS' next move

RBG said there will be "no urgency" to take up marriage equality -- unless the circuit court upholds state bans

Published September 17, 2014 6:36PM (EDT)

  (AP/Ron Edmonds)
(AP/Ron Edmonds)

The fate of same-sex marriage bans could come down to the 6th Circuit, according to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Supreme Court justice told an audience at the University of Minnesota on Tuesday that whether the high court will take up the issue of marriage equality in the coming term will likely depend on a pending ruling from the appellate court, the Associated Press reports:

Ginsburg said cases pending before the circuit covering Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee would probably play a role in the high court's timing. She said "there will be some urgency" if that appeals court allows same-sex marriage bans to stand. Such a decision would run contrary to a legal trend favoring gay marriage and force the Supreme Court to step in sooner, she predicted.

She said if the appeals panel falls in line with other rulings there is "no need for us to rush."

Ginsburg didn't get into the merits of any particular case or any state's gay marriage ban, but she marveled at the "remarkable" shift in public perception of same-sex marriage that she attributes to gays and lesbians being more open about their relationships. Same-sex couples can legally wed in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Bans that have been overturned in some other states continue to make their way through the courts.

The justice also shared her predictions for what she believes will be "watershed decisions" in the future, with the issues of the environment, technology and the use of smartphones in criminal searches topping the list. And, undoubtedly bringing deep, sincere joy to many in the audience, Ginsburg addressed the "Notorious R.B.G." Tumblr account, as well as her career aspirations that never came to fruition.

"If I had any talent God could give me, I would be a great diva," Ginsburg said. To some, the Notorious R.B.G. already is.

By Jenny Kutner

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