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Post image for Utah To Ask Justice Sotomayor For Emergency Stay

Utah To Ask Justice Sotomayor For Emergency Stay

by Jean Ann Esselink on December 27, 2013

in Discrimination,Jean Ann Esselink,Legal Issues,Marriage,News

The office of Utah’s newly appointed attorney general, Sean Reyes, issued a statement yesterday saying:

“It is the intent of the Attorney General’s Office to file with the Supreme Court as soon as possible.”

The terse announcement comes in the wake of his unexpected defeat Tuesday, when the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to stop same-sex marriages from going forward, after U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled last week that the state’s 2004  law banning them was unconstitutional.

Judge Shelby:

“Current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason.

Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional.”

Asked to stay his decision until the state could appeal, Judge Shelby refused, as did the 10th Circuit. Now the Supreme Court is Attorney General Reyes’ only option. Since around 1000 same-sex couples are estimated to have already applied for licenses, speculation is that emergency appeal may come as soon as today.

Attorney General Reyes is expected to ask Justice Sonia Sotomayor for an emergency injunction prohibiting any more same-sex marriages from taking place, until the entire Supreme Court can consider the case. The appeal will be go to Justice Sotomayor because she has jurisdiction over Utah.

Once the appeal is filed, Justice Sotomayor could rule on the request herself, and I know all of us would love to see her do that. Rebuffed. Refused. Cue the DOMA laws falling like dominoes all over the county as we ring in the new year. But it is more likely that the justice will refer the matter to the full court for a decision, as is customary with high-profile cases. What they will do is hard to predict.

So let the court watch begin. This could be the beginning of the end.

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russellsvocation December 27, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Any lawyers out there who can explain why they would appeal to her and not to someone who is clearly against gay marriage, Justice grumpy Scalia? Does each Justice have a certain part of the country from which they accept appeals?

DrunkIrishman December 27, 2013 at 1:33 pm

They have no choice. She oversees the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Scalia oversees the fifth.

ragefirewolf December 27, 2013 at 1:35 pm

You need to re-read the article. You missed something. Individual justices have jurisdiction over their particular appeals circuits. For example, Sotomayor has jurisdiction over the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Circuit courts cover multiple federal court regions, and in this case, the state of Utah (or at least the particular federal court district) is in the 10th's area.

sfbob December 27, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Another of those non-emergency emergencies. We want to do it as soon as we can…figure out how. Just wait; it's an emergency.

Llantha December 29, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Actually, it is an emergency. The more people who marry while it's legal, the harder it will be to reinstate the ban. It's part of what happened in California with Prop. 8. Associate Justice Sotomayor may very well ask the whole court to concur on granting or denying a stay. My guess is that they will deny it.

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