Sonia Sotomayor Hub




Plaintiffs Submit Response to Sotomayor Opposing Request for Halt to Same-Sex Marriages

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has received response from the plaintiffs representing three couples challenging Utah's ban on same-sex marriage to a brief filed by the state on Tuesday urging a halt to gay marriages pending the state's appeal of a case striking down the ban.

SotomayorSotomayor, who had set a noon deadline Friday for the plaintiffs' response, will now rule on her own or ask the full Court to weigh in.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

This is the state’s fifth attempt to get the order stayed. Shelby denied it once, and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver turned down the state’s stay request three times. Both courts held that the state’s likelihood of prevailing on appeal was unlikely, the plaintiffs’ attorneys said.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, however, agreed to review the case itself on an expedited basis. Filings are due in the case by the end of February, after which the court will take it under consideration...

...Magleby and Tomsic say Shelby determined that in previous rulings the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the freedom to marry as a fundamental right based on individual rights to liberty, privacy and freedom of assocation — rights that under the Fourteenth Amendment take precedence over states’ rights when there is a conflict between the two. Shelby also found the state did not present even a rational basis, the lowest standard of review, for denying same-sex couples’ right to marry, they said.

In a column posted yesterday, our legal analyst Ari Ezra Waldman argues why there should be no stay of marriage equality in Utah.

Read the brief below:

13A687 #3 Plaintiffs' Opposition to Stay by Equality Case Files


Why There Should Be No Stay of Marriage Equality in Utah

BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

131223-utah-gay-marriage-hmed-10a.380;380;7;70;0Gays and lesbians have been free to marry in Utah -- yes, Utah -- for two weeks. Judge Richard Shelby, who was appointed by President Obama at the behest of Utah's arch-conservative Republican senators, cited the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor when he said that the Constitution's guarantee of equal "dignity" for gays and lesbians requires the state to recognize their love. Since the decision was handed down, hundreds of gay couples, including Natalie Dicou, left, and her partner, Nicole Christensen, have gotten married.

Now, the State -- the home of the Mormon Church, Prop 8's principal benefactor -- wants those marriages to stop. After failing to ask for a stay during the course of the case before Judge Shelby, after messing up its request after the fact, and after ultimately losing before the Tenth Circuit, the State has one last hope to delay equality: Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

There are many problems with the State's request. Let's set aside for the moment the fact that the conservative leaders of Utah's state government want to deny the very existence of our love. Set aside the injustice of anti-gay marriage discrimination, in general, and focus on the stay itself.

The standard for a stay in federal court is demonstrating "irreparable harm." Where is the harm in letting gays continue to marry?

AFTER THE JUMP, I discuss the problems with the stay argument in more detail.

Continue reading "Why There Should Be No Stay of Marriage Equality in Utah" »


Utah Attorney General Files Request for Stay of Gay Marriage Ruling with Supreme Court

Supremes

The Utah Attorney General's office has filed a request with Justice Sonia Sotomayor at the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay pending appeal of Judge Robert Shelby's ruling striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage

Sotomayor could rule on her own or ask the rest of the court to weigh in.

The Washington Blade reports:

Attorneys for Utah officials — Gov. Gary Herbert (R) and newly sworn-in Attorney General Sean Reyes — filed the 26-page stay request with U.S. Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who’s responsible for the Tenth Circuit.

“As a result of the district court’s injunction, numerous same-sex marriages are now occurring every day in Utah,” the request states. “And each one is an affront not only to the interests of the state and its citizens in being able to define marriage through ordinary democratic channels…but also to this court’s unique role as final arbiter of the profoundly important constitutional question that is so carefully preserved in Windsor.”

The Blade adds:

Now that the stay request is before the high court, Sotomayor has the option of referring the request to all of her colleagues on the bench, who would provide the final word on whether a stay would be granted on same-sex marriages.

However, if Sotomayor goes it alone and decides against the stay, Utah officials may select any justice on the Supreme Court — such as a justice with an anti-gay reputation like U.S. Associate Justice Antonin Scalia — and make a final attempt to request a stay.

Doug NeJaime, who’s gay and law professor at the University of California, Irvine, said he expects Sotomayor to refer the request to the entire court, but isn’t able make a prediction on what will happen.

Read the state's application for the stay HERE.

ReyesUtah's new attorney general Sean Reyes spoke about the marriage ruling in a Salt Lake Tribune profile shortly after his swearing in on Monday:

Reyes also addressed the current same-sex-marriage litigation that he is stepping into, with the state expected to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to stay a ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby striking down Utah’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriages and allowing more than a thousand Utah couples to wed.

"I’m starting day one with a case involving the defense of marriage. I’m not going to talk today, at least here, about the merits of the case, but this could be a potentially divisive case," Reyes said. "I don’t think it needs to be divisive. With the respect and good will from those on both sides of the issue, I think we can disagree in a healthy way and still remember we are all still Utahns."

After Monday’s ceremony, Reyes was asked if he viewed marriage to be a constitutionally protected right. Reyes said "marriage, as a fundamental right, has been developed in a number of cases with the Supreme Court."

The request also comes just hours before Sotomayor is scheduled to helm the New Year's Eve ball drop in Times Square.

UPDATE: Buzzfeed adds -

“Justice Sotomayor has called for a response due by noon E.S.T. on Friday, January 3, 2014,” Appellate Daily’s Michelle Olsen reported Tuesday afternoon, likely meaning that Sotomayor will be able to keep her plans to lead the Times Square ball drop at midnight Tuesday to ring in 2014.


Seven Takeaways from Marriage Week at the Supreme Court

BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

SupremesFor three hours over two days, the Supreme Court discussed the freedom to marry. The justices asked questions about the law of the love after recent polling showed that 58 % of Americans, and a slew of moderate-to-conservative politicians, supported equality. This trend caught the attention of an unusually ascerbic Chief Justice, who said that leaders were "falling over themselves" to support gay rights. His convenient ignorance of the litany of burdens and discriminations we face every day, his insensitivity and willful ignorance of the plight of sexual minorities, and Roberta Kaplan's inadequate response to his flippancy should not damper the euphoric feeling that what happened this week was historic. The freedom to marry had a hearing at the Supreme Court, where the shallowness of discrimination was laid bare for the world to see. As we await favorable decisions in June, the world is a different place today than it was on Monday.

Many media are making conclusions about the end of DOMA, a narrow standing decision in the Prop 8 case, and the end of the culture wars with a victory for gay rights. Some of these predictions may turn out to be right, but we can't know that and it misses the true legal and political lessons from the last two days.

Having already offered detailed summaries and initial analysis of the Prop 8 (Part 1 and Part 2) and DOMA hearings (Part 1 and Part 2), I would like to take a step back and think more broadly. Here are the seven takeaways from Marriage Week at the Supreme Court.

1. The bench was "hot," asking lots of questions, but don't read too much into those questions.

Just because a justice asks a question critiquing one side's argument does not necessarily point to his or her ultimate decision. Judges play the devil's advocate for many reasons other than preening. If these cases were so open and shut, there would be no need for briefs, reply briefs, and oral argument; neither side ever has a perfect case. Therefore, the justices need to probe the logical, legal, and policy problems, not only to help them decide the case but also to determine the best way to decide the ultimate question. Oral argument questions are also just as much about persuading colleagues as challenging attorneys. Justice Ginsburg may have thought of something that the Chief Justice missed, or vice versa; Justice Sotomayor's demand that Paul Clement give her a single reason for discriminating against gay couples, and his inability to do so, may have worried the Chief and Justices Kennedy and Alito about siding with an impossibly weak argument.

SIX ADDITIONAL TAKEAWAYS, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Seven Takeaways from Marriage Week at the Supreme Court" »


Jon Stewart Looks at Obama's Oath, Michelle's Bangs: VIDEO

Stewart_inaug

Jon Stewart took a look at Obama's second inauguration, Obama's inability to recite the oath, George Stephanopolous' analysis, and, of course, Michelle Obama's bangs.

Finally, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor made it up to NYC after swearing in the Vice President to sit down at The Daily Show.

Watch (in three parts), AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Jon Stewart Looks at Obama's Oath, Michelle's Bangs: VIDEO" »


Joe Biden Has Been Sworn In For A Second Term: VIDEO

Bideninauguration

Tomorrow's inaugural events are all pomp and circumstance. In contrast, today, the day when Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama really re-take their oaths of office, is about friends and family. It's a comparatively more modest affair, as seen in this video of Biden's first second inauguration, conducted by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Biden's family was all there, including a granddaughter who again proves that bored children are always the most entertaining people in an inauguration scenes. Watch two videos of a beaming Joe Biden playing the role of a man with job security, AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Joe Biden Has Been Sworn In For A Second Term: VIDEO" »


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