Ninth Circuit Grants Stay of Idaho Marriage Ruling, Expedites Appeal

NinthcircuitBY LISA KEEN

The Ninth Circuit panel that granted Idaho an emergency stay on Thursday granted a stay on Tuesday to remain in place until it can rule on the merits of the state’s appeal of a district court ruling that the state ban on same-sex couples marrying is unconstitutional. The panel also expedited Idaho’s appeal of Judge Candy Dale’s May 13 ruling in Latta v. Otter. 

Oral argument will take place the week of September 8 in San Francisco.

In issuing the panel’s stay, one judge, Obama appointee Andrew Hurwitz, indicated he believes the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in SmithKline v. Abbott –that laws targeting gays require heightened scrutiny– will make it difficult for Idaho’s ban to survive. But he also said he believes the Supreme Court’s granting of a stay in the Utah case sent a “clear message” that stays should be granted on district court rulings against state bans on same-sex couples marrying.

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


  1. Judicial Efficiency? says

    Can someone with legal experience/expertise explain the 4-month timeline for arguments to be heard? Is is because of summer vacations? What all happens in a 4-month period? That seems excessive.

  2. Richard Harney says

    There are probably other cases on the docket for the next 4 months booked solid.

    What I don’t understand is why the 9th Circuit granted an appeal. They have already ruled on this matter in the Prop 8 case. To the 9th Circuit, this should be settled law already. What further evidence does Idaho have that needs to be presented. I thought that higher courts don’t grant appeals just because the opposition wants to throw a temper tantrum because they lost.

  3. Marco Luxe says

    Judge Hurwitz almost got it right. The 4 Nken factors weigh exclusively against a stay, and that should have been conclusive, “rule of law” and all. But the judges were cowed by the empty hole of reasoning left by SCOTUS with their unexplained stay in Herbert [Utah] which countermanded the district and the 10th Cir. court. I think this 9th Cir stay panel should have denied the stay, and if SCOTUS wanted, it could overrule. But that would teach SCOTUS that their unexplained granting of a stay in Herbert doesn’t give lower courts any guidance – it just looks like political cowardice, judicial inertia, and that SCOTUS is not doing their job when they grant unexplained stays for heavily litigated issues.

    Although four months seems excessive for briefings on the appeal since all the arguments have been hashed and rehashed, it is typical. As always, the appeal must claim an error in law. The Idaho ruling was clear and well within 9th Cir jurisprudence. Judge Dale in Idaho did, however, use intermediate scrutiny, which is yet undeclared by SCOTUS for sexual orientation discrimination. She followed the 9th Cir ruling [in SmithKline] that for Windsor, SCOTUS used heightened-scrutiny-in-rational-basis drag. It would have been safer for her to conclude that state marriage bans fail even rational basis review, as other courts have found, but that’s no error.

  4. Robert says

    The court is ruled by bigots. Pure and simple. There is no standing against marriage equality that isn’t overturned by the decision last year even with the narrow focus provided, it was decided already.

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