January 25, 2011
When the Ninth Circuit asked the California Supreme Court to decide a state-law standing question relevant to the federal-court challenge to Proposition 8, we noted that rule 8.548 of the California Rules of Court allows “any party or other person or entity wanting to support or oppose” the Ninth Circuit’s request to send a letter to the Supreme Court. (Emphasis added.) Some “other person[s]” and “entit[ies]” have accepted the invitation.
Yesterday, plaintiffs filed a letter opposing the Ninth Circuit’s request, certain defendants filed a letter supporting the request, and plaintiff City and County of San Francisco filed a letter asking the Supreme Court to reformulate the Ninth Circuit’s questions. In addition, however, a supporting letter was filed by proponents of earlier ballot initiatives – Ward Connerly, Glynn Custred, Ron Unz, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, and the Pacific Legal Foundation. (Thanks to SCOTUSblog for links to the letters.)
Only the parties can now file reply letters. The due date for those is February 3. The Supreme Court has no deadline to decide whether it will answer the Ninth Circuit’s question, but a long wait is unlikely. Look for the court to follow the timeline for ruling on petitions for review: within 60 days from the petition’s filing, unless the court grants itself up to a 30-day extension. As we’ve said, the court could deny the request, but still in effect answer the Ninth Circuit’s question in the denial order.