American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

Defendants in Bostic ask Supreme Court to decide on marriage equality

On Friday, August 8, 2014 the Commonwealth of Virginia asked the United States Supreme Court to review the federal appeals court ruling in Bostic v. Schaefer (docketed as Rainey v. Bostic) that found Virginia’s discriminatory Marriage Amendment unconstitutional. Two weeks later, on Friday, August 22, George E. Schaefer, one of the County Clerks defending the marriage ban, filed his own petition with the high court.

Virginia’s Marriage Amendment has been ruled unconstitutional twice: first in a U.S. District Court and then by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Defendants’ request for Supreme Court review, known as a petition for a writ of certiorari, is only granted upon an affirmative vote of four Supreme Court Justices.

The next Supreme Court term will begin in late September, 2014. A Supreme Court Term usually runs until late June or early July. Of the approximately 8,000 cases that appear on the Court’s docket each Term, the Justices hear and decide only between 70 and 80 cases after full briefing and oral argument.

Throughout the Term, the Justices meet almost every week in a private conference. At each conference, they consider more than 130 requests to review judgments of state and federal courts. When four Supreme Court Justices vote in favor of granting full review of a case, know as granting certiorari, the case is placed on the Court’s oral argument calendar.

Donate $25, $50, or more to help Ted Olson, David Boies, and the rest of our legal team continue to defend our victories in Virginia and bring marriage equality to the Commonwealth once and for all.

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Scenario 1: Supreme Court Hears the Bostic Case

Should the Court decide to hear our case in the next term, AFER’s legal team, led by distinguished co-counsel Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, will make the case for the fundamental right to marry for all Americans. Oral argument would likely be scheduled for early 2015, and a final decision would be issued by July 2015.

Scenario 2: Supreme Court Does Not Hear the Bostic Case

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision that ruled Virginia’s Marriage Amendment unconstitutional would go into effect as soon as that Court issues its final mandate, which would likely be several days after the Supreme Court denies review. As soon as it does, gay and lesbian Virginians would finally have the freedom to marry.

* The Court may also hold the case for later consideration.

Virginia Petition for Writ of Certiorari:


Clerk of Court for Norfolk Circuit Court George E. Schaefer Petition: