Utah becomes first state to file for cert

Supreme-Court(5)

U.S. Supreme Court

On Tuesday, Utah became the first state to file a writ of certiorari, commonly referred to as cert, with the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold its marriage ban.

In June, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Utah’s marriage ban unconstitutional, the first such ruling by a federal appeals court.

The state had three choices. It could have accepted the ruling and begun issuing marriage licenses. It could have could have asked for a hearing en banc, meaning a new hearing would have been held at the appeals court level, but this time heard by the entire court, rather than a three-judge panel. Or, as it did, it could have appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Two other states that have received appeals court rulings— Oklahoma and Virginia — also may file writs of cert. Four additional states’ cases — Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee — were heard by an appeals court this week and may appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court once a ruling is handed down.

The U.S. Supreme Court is in recess and reconvenes the first Monday in October. That’s when they’ll begin to decide which cases to hear during the upcoming session. If a marriage case is heard, a decision isn’t expected until June 2015. Traditionally, the most controversial decisions are left until the last day of the session. The court may also decide not to take a case during the 2014-15 session to allow more lower courts deal with the issue before hearing a case the following session.

—  David Taffet

Lambda Legal holds victory celebration tonight at Hotel Palomar

LL

Every year about this time, Lambda Legal’s Dallas office holds a summer kickoff party. But there’s rarely been a season worth partying it up more than this one. With the recent triumphs in the U.S. Supreme Court, the gay rights group has a lot to celebrate — no wonder the theme is “Victory!”

You can be part of the festivities at Hotel Palomar’s Central 214, where cocktails and bites will be served while you learn about the details of the upcoming Landmark Dinner. It’s all taking place starting at 5:30 p.m.; you can get more information on their Facebook page.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Fate of Texas primaries still up in the air after SCOTUS hearing today

Anybody expecting to get some hint of resolution to the redistricting battle raging here in Texas following oral arguments over the issue today before the U.S. Supreme Court is probably disappointed, as it seems the justices want to see the Texas primary elections, already postponed from March to April 3, pushed back to an even later date.

Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis

According Associated Press legal affairs reporter Mark Sherman (as quoted on the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s blog, PoliTex), “The justices discussed moving the primary date back further to give the courts handling different aspects of the case more time. ‘Why can’t this all be pushed back, and wouldn’t that eliminate a lot of the problems we are grappling with in this case?’ Justice Samuel Alito asked.”

And TheHill.com indicates that justices were not happy with either the map drawn last year by the GOP-controlled Texas Legislature or with the interim map drawn last month by federal judges in San Antonio, quoting Chief Justice John Roberts as saying during today’s hearing, “How do you decide between two wrong choices?”

TheHill.com also said, “Most justices indicated they thought both maps were unacceptable and could not be put into law without violating the Voting Rights Act.”

The Legislature’s map favors Republicans, especially in Tarrant County where Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis saw her district taken away, with portions of it allocated to more Republican-leaning areas north and south of Fort Worth.

—  admin

D.C.: SCOTUS protects marriage (no quotation marks needed)

Good news for D.C.:

Bishop Harry Jackson’s appeal to the Supreme Court to let D.C. residents vote on marriage equality, which was approved there last year, has been rejected by the Supreme Court, the AP reports

SCOTUS REJECTS APPEAL FROM SAME-SEX MARRIAGE OPPONENTS IN D.C. [Towle]

Screen Shot 2011-01-18 At 10.51.58 Am

And with that, the last D.C. ditch is in Jackson/NOM’s rear view mirror. But don’t you dare think they’re planning to drive off into the sunset.




Good As You

—  admin

SCOTUS Caveman alert – Scalia: Women don’t have constitutional protection against discrimination

What’s next in the intellectual bloviating of conservative activist SCOTUS Justice Antonin Scalia – is slavery OK? We already know he doesn’t believe in the right for two consenting adults to engage in anything other than PIV sex.

He was interviewed recently and let loose this flaming pile of horseshite:

In 1868, when the 39th Congress was debating and ultimately proposing the 14th Amendment, I don’t think anybody would have thought that equal protection applied to sex discrimination, or certainly not to sexual orientation. So does that mean that we’ve gone off in error by applying the 14th Amendment to both?

Yes, yes. Sorry, to tell you that. … But, you know, if indeed the current society has come to different views, that’s fine. You do not need the Constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society. Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t. Nobody ever thought that that’s what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that. If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws. You don’t need a constitution to keep things up-to-date. All you need is a legislature and a ballot box. You don’t like the death penalty anymore, that’s fine. You want a right to abortion? There’s nothing in the Constitution about that. But that doesn’t mean you cannot prohibit it. Persuade your fellow citizens it’s a good idea and pass a law. That’s what democracy is all about. It’s not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society.

What do you do when the original meaning of a constitutional provision is either in doubt or is unknown?

I do not pretend that originalism is perfect. There are some questions you have no easy answer to, and you have to take your best shot. … We don’t have the answer to everything, but by God we have an answer to a lot of stuff … especially the most controversial: whether the death penalty is unconstitutional, whether there’s a constitutional right to abortion, to suicide, and I could go on. All the most controversial stuff. … I don’t even have to read the briefs, for Pete’s sake.

Amanda Terkel at Huff Post covered the reaction to “Little Tony’s” latest belching of retrograde thinking.

For the record, the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause states: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” That would seem to include protection against exactly the kind of discrimination to which Scalia referred.

Marcia Greenberger, founder and co-president of the National Women’s Law Center, called the justice’s comments “shocking” and said he was essentially saying that if the government sanctions discrimination against women, the judiciary offers no recourse.

“In these comments, Justice Scalia says if Congress wants to protect laws that prohibit sex discrimination, that’s up to them,” she said. “But what if they want to pass laws that discriminate? Then he says that there’s nothing the court will do to protect women from government-sanctioned discrimination against them. And that’s a pretty shocking position to take in 2011. It’s especially shocking in light of the decades of precedents and the numbers of justices who have agreed that there is protection in the 14th Amendment against sex discrimination, and struck down many, many laws in many, many areas on the basis of that protection.”

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Govt. to SCOTUS: We want DADT to go, but for now you should stay, so that when it goes, order will stay…

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell update:

(1) The Government has asked SCOTUS to keep Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in place while District Court Judge Virginia Phillips’s injunction is on appeal.

(2) The folks who brought the suit, the Log Cabin Republicans, issue a reaction that’s one part focused on the shared cause, one part focused on partisan politics — but all-around unhappy with the decision:

“It is unfortunate the Obama Justice Department has forced the Log Cabin Republicans to go to the Supreme Court to halt this failed policy,” said R. Clarke Cooper, Executive Director of the Log Cabin Republicans. “At the same time, President Obama remains far from the front lines of the fight for legislative repeal while commanding his lawyers to zealously defend ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in court. This week Log Cabin Republicans have conducted meetings with numerous Republican senators potentially in favor of repeal, all of whom are waiting for the President’s call. The White House has been missing in action on Capitol Hill, undermining efforts to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in the final session of this Congress, potentially leaving the judiciary as the only solution for our brave men and women in uniform.”

“We have reviewed the government’s opposition to Log Cabin’s application to vacate the stay of Judge Phillips’s injunction by the Ninth Circuit,” said Dan Woods, White and Case partner who is representing Log Cabin Republicans. “In our view, the government’s lengthy, detailed, 29-page brief does not address the two key arguments we presented to the Supreme Court. First, we argued that the premise of the government’s position–that it needs time to conduct an orderly process of repealing DADT–is entirely speculative because Congress has not and very well may never repeal DADT; the government’s filing today does not address that issue. Second, we argued that the Ninth Circuit order did not take into account the harm to servicemembers and potential enlistees resulting from the stay; the government’s filing today does not respond to that point either. At this point, all we can do is look forward to a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court.”

Log Cabin Republicans: President Obama MIA on Capitol Hill, but Reports For Duty to Defend DADT at Supreme Court [LCR]

Understandable frustration. Confusing contradictions. Overwrought debate.




Good As You

—  admin

Log Cabin Republicans take DADT fight to the SCOTUS

Wow.

Didn't see this coming. Dan Woods, partner at White & Case, the firm representing the Log Cabin Republicans have asked the Supreme Court of the United States to consider reversing the stay imposed on Judge Virginia Field's worldwide injunction of the military's implementation of the “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” law.

From the Log Cabin Republican's press release:

Dan Woods, White & Case “We have today filed an application with the United States Supreme Court asking it to vacate the Ninth Circuit's order staying Judge Phillips's injunction pending appeal. We argue in this application that the Ninth Circuit order was arbitrary and an abuse of discretion and should be vacated immediately. We continue to look forward to the day when all Americans can serve in our military without regard to their sexual orientation,” said Dan Woods, White & Case partner who is representing Log Cabin Republicans.

Q: Will the entire Supreme Court be involved in considering whether to vacate the Ninth Circuit order? A: That is up to Justice Kennedy. He may decide himself or he may refer the application to the full court.

Q: How long will the review take? A: That is also up to the court. The Court may allow the government the opportunity to respond to our application.

Q: What are the next steps if the Court vacates the ruling/doesn't vacate the ruling? A: If the Court vacates the stay order, DADT is dead pending the appeal, and we have for all inteappeal from Judgnts and purposes won. If it doesn't, we will next move in the Ninth Circuit to expedite the e Phillips's decision.

Now THAT's Fierce Advocacy.

R. Clarke Cooper, Executive Director, Log Cabin Republicans “It is unfortunate the Obama Justice Department has forced the Log Cabin Republicans to go to the Supreme Court.”

Unfortunate indeed.
More from Politico:

The Log Cabin move appears to face long odds at the Supreme Court, at least right now. In major cases, justices usually refer such applications to the full court. In this instance, Justice Elena Kagan would be expected to recuse since she played some role in strategizing about the case. In the eyes of many observers, that would leave four conservative justices (Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas) likely hostile to a legal challenge to “don't ask” facing down three liberal justices (Breyer, Sotomayor, Ginsburg) who might be open to it. Supreme Court handicappers consider Kennedy the possible swing vote in such a case, but even if he joined the liberal wing, the Log Cabin application would likely fail on a 4-4 tie vote.

Still, you can never win a battle you never don't show up for. Good luck, Log Cabin Republicans. (I still can't get used to this.) Win or lose, Politico author Josh Gerstein makes an excellent point:

However, filing the application would possibly have the effect of drawing the White House and President Barack Obama further into a fight they don't have their heart in and which has caused strife between the Obama administration and gay activists who traditionally support Democrats.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Should SCOTUS play tough, Robert Knight will play ‘ruff’

So what happens if/when we win marriage equality at the United States Supreme Court? Well, if longtime “pro-family” so-and-so Robert Knight has his way, we will see evangelical Christians denying the decision ever happened:

It goes to the U.S. Supreme Court, where, flanked by leftist newcomers Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, Anthony Kennedy takes his latest plunge into existential mystery and manufactures a constitutional “right” to force Americans to recognize same-sex “marriage.” I’m not saying they are going to do this, but what if?

What should right-thinking Americans do?

First, they should announce loudly and clearly that they won’t go along with this abuse of language ruse. Does a federal judge have the right to change the meaning of a word?

For example, if a law gave special recognition to dogs (a dog license) could Judge Walker, a cat lover, arbitrarily decree that cats are dogs? Clearly not, any more than decreeing the absurdity of brideless or groomless “marriage” into the law immediately transforms it into the real thing. Creating counterfeits and then forcing them down people’s throats is straight out of George Orwell’s Newspeak in 1984.

KEEP READING: Will fake ‘marriage’ law become the new Sedition Act? [ONN]

Gay activists aren’t trying to change the species of marriage participants in ways that incorrectly mislabels — the goal is simply for society to accommodate all worthy and eligible members of the human race. Gay couples exist in loving unions. Gay couples share responsibilities with each other and share taxes with their government. To honor these unions with marriage is not at all like inaccurately labeling an Abyssinian as a Shih Tzu: It’s more like allowing all doggies access to the same kennel, regardless of whose leg they might hump.

</absurd realm where gay humans are forced to defend themselves against biological declassification>

Knight goes on to compare potential marriage equality to the Alien and Sedition Acts, saying that it would “impose falsehoods on its citizens” and stifle the First Amendment in a way that “Americans are wired to resist.” Except gay Americans, of course. We just want to play fetch the constitution before lining our litter boxes with the same.

***

**Knight is quote fond of this ridiculous cat/dog comparison:




Good As You

—  John Wright