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Utah Files Emergency SCOTUS Request Over Gay Marriage Recognition

Utah has filed an emergency request with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor asking her for a stay of the order forcing Utah to recognize nearly 1200 gay marriages performed there, FOX13Now's Ben Winslow reports:

SotomayorIn the filing, special assistant attorney general Gene Schaerr refers to the marriages as “interim marriages” and writes that the nation’s top court is likely to take the Amendment 3 case and rule in Utah’s favor.

“Utah believes it is highly likely — and certainly likely enough to warrant a stay — that at least four Justices will vote to grant certiorari if the district court’s decision is affirmed, and that at least five Justices will agree with Judge Kelly that the district court’s sweeping legal conclusions ‘simply cannot be’ — and emphatically are not — ‘the law.’ Indeed, the district court’s misunderstanding of the legal status of a law subject to a non-final decision of unconstitutionality is so fundamentally erroneous, and arises in a context of such importance to all of the states and to this Court, that a summary reversal could well be in order,” he wrote.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Urah to recognize the marriages last Friday, and the state said it planned to appeal to Sotomayor.

Read the brief below:

Application for SCOTUS Stay Final (w Addenda) (1) by Ben Winslow

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  1. I am astonished that any lawyer, never mind a Special Assistant Attorney General, would use such phrases as "could well be in order".....and " sweeping legal conclusions".

    Language like that belongs in an undergraduate debating room, not in a document submitted to The Supreme Court of the United States, purporting to be an 'emergency application.'
    If he/she doesn't know that already, we are not talking high skilled !

    BTW, what's the 'emergency' ?
    Being 'forced' to recognize marriages ?
    That's an 'emergency' ?
    Child care cases, with children in immediate danger, that's an emergency.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Jul 16, 2014 8:05:36 PM

  2. Sotomayer will punt to the full court for a decision, knowing full well if she doesn't Utah will try to go around her. I think the court will deny the stay. It just isn't workable to have people married in one state and not in another... they aren't stupid, they know that. The reason they didn't go forward in the Prop8 case was they were concerned about public opinion and were trying to nudge the country in the correct direction. I think it is fairly obvious that the majority of people have already accepted marriage equality as a foregone conclusion.

    Posted by: Gerry | Jul 16, 2014 8:08:59 PM

  3. They are grasping at straws...

    According to their reasoning, all but 1 federal district judge doesn't even understand their role as a judge. Apparently these judges don't know basic constitutional law, so they must ALL (but one) be incompetent.

    But we all know if the judges ruled in the favor of these discriminatory laws, they would be the greatest judges who've ever lived in the history of the American judicial system.

    Side note: even their conservative judges rule against their bigotry.

    Posted by: Wayne | Jul 16, 2014 8:46:36 PM

  4. "the district court’s sweeping legal conclusions ‘simply cannot be’ — and emphatically are not — ‘the law.’"

    Appeals court disagrees.

    Posted by: JJ | Jul 16, 2014 8:53:26 PM

  5. OMG, the gays are getting married !


    Posted by: Pookie | Jul 16, 2014 8:54:22 PM

  6. the same idiot who didn't request a stay before the initial decision AND missed a filing date with the court of appeals.

    Posted by: jeff | Jul 16, 2014 9:40:33 PM

  7. Utah REALLY thinks that Justice Kennedy will torch his gay-rights legacy by ruling in Utah's favor? They really are on a different planet.

    Posted by: Jack Wang | Jul 16, 2014 10:22:49 PM

  8. The legal standard here is harm though states get a wide latitude at the Supreme Court. Utah has to make an appeal based on the harm that the ruling is doing to the state and the need to end the harm immediately. Since the case is nearly unique there's no way to know how it will go.

    Posted by: anon | Jul 16, 2014 10:25:22 PM

  9. While Sonya S is probably tempted to say "suck it, bitches," she's got enough long-range thinking to know she needs to refer this to the whole court. (And then, depending on how well Justice Kennedy's breakfast goes down, we'll either have gay marriage in Utah next week or we'll find out in 2016.)

    Posted by: bravo | Jul 17, 2014 12:03:46 AM

  10. Ooooo! It's an EMERGENCY!!!!! Gays are getting married--the Mormons are all flushed and clutching pearls!!!!

    Good God (and I mean the "Good God" not the Mormon/Catholic/Baptist/Rick Santorum/Tony Perkins one) these people need to mature....A LOT!

    Posted by: woodroad34 | Jul 17, 2014 1:12:54 AM

  11. Does the majority of Utah really support this blatant waste of tax dollars on such rudiculous arguments?

    Posted by: NY2.0 | Jul 17, 2014 1:35:52 AM

  12. It's the ostrich "head in sand" move. The sky is blue but, of course, there are cloudy gray days and at night it is black, so the "conclusions ‘simply cannot be’ — and emphatically are not — ‘the law.’"

    Posted by: Jere | Jul 17, 2014 9:04:15 AM

  13. Utah's going to get butt-hurt any minute now.

    Posted by: Jack M | Jul 17, 2014 9:07:19 AM

  14. It is strange how the Republicans are diluting the word "emergency" when talking about marriage equality....too bad they don't apply emergency to Capital Hill, where there really are emergent issues being ignored by Republicans, but I guess marriage equality is an emergency to them!

    Posted by: Bernie | Jul 17, 2014 9:39:10 AM

  15. I feel like moving to Utah and flaunting my gayness.

    Posted by: SpaceCadet | Jul 17, 2014 9:48:25 AM

  16. hen the federal district court in Utah struck down Utah’s marriage law a few days before Christmas last December, and the State’s request for a stay was denied by both the district court and the court of appeals, the Supreme Court unanimously issued a stay, blocking the district court’s judgment. It is quite rare for the Supreme Court to issue a stay when both lower courts have refused to do so, and the standard that it applies is whether the state had demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits. The stay issued by the Supreme Court in the Utah case therefore outweighs all of the district court decisions that have recent invalidate state marriage laws combined.

    Posted by: Jade | Jul 17, 2014 10:14:13 AM

  17. Actually @"Jade" (like the new name!) you have no idea what standard the Supreme Court used in issuing the stay on Utah marriages because they deliberately didn't offer one. Few rational people, however, would argue that it was because Utah has a reasonable likelihood of success, especially given the string of court decisions overturning state bans since. Utah has a very slim likelihood of success. Their request is a sham and consistent with their legal incompetence.

    Whether SCOTUS will issue a stay on the recognition of the 1000+ existing Utah marriages remains to be seen (I could imagine it going either way), but it's laughable to consider this an "emergency" since we're talking only about marriages that happened months ago.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jul 17, 2014 10:37:19 AM

  18. Jade's circular argument holds no water. NOM petitioned SCOTUS to intervene in the Oregon marriage case. Judge didn't reject it right away and asked for briefs. Does that mean it has a chance of success, Absolutely. But far less than 50/50. They are usually very cautious because they have the final say. Linking a stay to a good chance of success is a bit far-fetched. Of course rejecting a case right away means it has zero chance of success.

    Posted by: simon | Jul 17, 2014 10:56:25 AM

  19. Applications are addressed to a specific Justice, according to federal judicial circuit. The United States is divided into 13 federal circuits, with each Justice assigned to a specific circuit or circuits (see page 19).
    Case law has established four general criteria that the applicant normally must satisfy in order for the Court to grant a stay. They are:
    that there is a “reasonable probability” that four Justices will grant certiorari, or agree to review the merits of the case;
    that there is a “fair prospect” that a majority of the Court will conclude upon review that the decision below on the merits was erroneous;
    that irreparable harm will result from the denial of the stay;
    finally, in a close case, the Circuit Justice may find it appropriate to balance the equities, by exploring the relative harms to the applicant and respondent, as well as the interests of the public at large.

    Posted by: Jade | Aug 7, 2014 1:17:11 PM

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