SCOTUS: 3 blockbusters among last cases

Photo: cpence via Flickr

The Supreme Court resolved five cases, including affirmative action, on Monday. That leaves disputes about gay marriage and voting rights among the six remaining cases. The justices are meeting again Tuesday to issue some opinions and will convene at least one more time.{ }

“It was nice the closer we got and seeing that the rulings were going to come down the closer it got, it was kind of exciting for us,” says Dawn Stivers.

Stivers plans to marry her longtime partner the same week the Supreme Court is expected to rule on issues affecting their union, the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits couples from receiving federal benefits, and California’s Proposition 8.

However, the newlywed isn’t holding out hope that this week will bring a watershed moment for same-sex marriage.

“I honestly believe they will probably leave it up to the states. As much as that’s not what we want to see, that’s truly what I expect.”

Kris Perry and Sandy Steir, plaintiffs in California's ban on same-sex marriage case, were hoping the court would rule on Proposition 8 Monday, but it didn't.

“I think it’s going to be a long week,” says Josh Gerstein of POLITICO. “We're hoping the justices don’t pile up all the major opinions in one day. We still have two or three major cases to come down, but it could really drag out for the rest of the week.”

The long-awaited decisions on the two high-profile cases before the bench are expected at some point this week before justices can recess for summer.

The one ruling somewhat handed down by the high court Monday was whether or not race should play a role in college admissions. The justices’ decision was to punt the issue of affirmative action back to a lower court.

“It basically says affirmative action is still the law of the land, but when you use it you got to use it in a good, legal way,” says Barbara Arnwine, executive director of The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

In a 7-1 ruling, the justices determined the case involving admissions at the University of Texas needed more review, avoiding tackling the more widespread constitution question of affirmative action.

“I think it’s clear today it is still legal. The only question is how? What standards have to be met in order to satisfy constitutional muster?” says Sherrilyn Ifill, the president of NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

The issue of affirmative action won’t be argued at the Supreme Court again until next year. The court is scheduled to wrap up this session this week after handing down its opinions on same-sex marriage and voting rights.

Another case involves voters’ rights in the south.

The court is scheduled to deliver more opinions on Thursday this week, but the justices announced there will be another session Tuesday at 10 a.m.