NEW YORK — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Sunday said there was “no need” for the high court to intervene on the issue of same-sex marriage.
In an interview with NPR’s Nina Totenburg at the famed 92nd Street Y in New York City, Ginsburg said the court declined to hear seven appeals challenging the marriage bans in five states across the U.S. because all of the federal appeals courts that have so far ruled on the issue are in agreement that the bans are unconstitutional.
“When there’s no disagreement among the Courts of Appeals, we don’t step in,” said Ginsburg.
“The major job that the court has is to keep the law of the United States more or less uniform. So when the courts of appeals disagree about what the law of the United States is, then we are obligated to grant review.
“If there had been a Court of Appeals on the other side, we probably would have taken that case. But up to now, all the Courts of Appeals agree, so there is no crying need for us to step in.”
Observers speculate that the largely conservative 6th Circuit could be the first federal appeals court to uphold same-sex marriage bans. The court could rule at anytime on challenges to bans in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Back in September, Ginsburg hinted that the cases pending before the Sixth Circuit would probably play a role in the high court’s decision to grant review. 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.
Ginsburg is one of just two current Supreme Court justices who have officiated weddings for same-sex couples; the other is Justice Elena Kagan.
The full interview with Ginsburg is here; her remarks regarding the marriage cases begins around the 4:00 mark: