(Denver) Â The 10th Circuit Court today heard oral arguments in the Utah Amendment 3 same-sex marriage case. The judges are being asked to decide whether to uphold a lower court’s ruling which struck down Utah’s 2004 ban on same-sex marriages and civil unions. From all indications, it looks like Marriage Equality will see another court win.
Since the 2013 Supreme Court ruling inÂ United States v. Windsor, Marriage Equality has won 9 court battles around the country (and lost zero). But the Amendment 3 case is the first time Marriage Equality has been considered on the appellate court level.
Until now, Utah’s case has almost exclusively rested on the thoroughly debunked Mark Regnerus study which claims that same-sex parents are “unfit.” But after a Michigan judge ruled that the Regnerus study was “entirely unbelievable” a few weeks ago, Utah submitted a brief to the 10th Circuit late last night walking back their reliance on Regnerus.
That walk-back landed Utah’s Attorney General in some hot water with the 10th Circuit Court, with Judge Holmes (widely considered to be the swing vote of the three-judge panel) asking whether Utah’s dropping of the study took out the entire foundation of their argument.
Holmes was extremely pointed in other areas of his questioning as well, asking that if ‘it’s true that same-sex parents are unfit, doesn’t that mean that divorced heterosexual parents are unfit as well?’ Utah’s attorneys admitted that, yes, that would make divorced parents less than ideal as well. Holmes then pressed his point, asking why Utah isn’t seeking to make divorced parenting illegal too.
At one point, Utah’s hired outside attorney Gene Schaerr actually admitted to Holmes that “Yes, children of same-sex couples would likely do better if their parents were allowed to marry.”
Utah then switched gears, highlighting how, in 2004 when Amendment 3 was first passed, it was approved by just over 60 percent of Utah votersâ€”and that the courts should not overrule the state’s right to define marriage and the will of the people (at least, their will in 2004).This time, it was Judge Lucero who hit back, askingÂ “Has public policy ever been allowed to overrule constitutional rights in this country?”
Lawyers for the same-sex couples, meanwhile, focused in on prior SCOTUS cases such asÂ Loving v. Virginia, which struck down bans on interracial marriage. The attorneys argued that, like same-sex couples, the civil right for citizens to marry the person of their choice was being trampled by individual states.
Insiders at the Denver courthouse say it appeared the judges seemed to be split on their ruling, and are predicting the court will hand down a final ruling of 2 to 1 in favor of Marriage Equality, with only Judge Kelly predicted to side with Utah.
Outside the courthouse after the hearing, Derek Kitchen, one of the plaintiffs in the case who is seeking to marry his partner, said he felt “humble and proud” to be a part of the case which could pave the way for Marriage Equality everywhere. He also shared an interesting story, saying that Utah Attorney General Reyes had spoken with him before the hearing began, and had apologized to him for putting Kitchen and his partner through so much grief in the case.
Reyes confirmed the story to reporters, and said that defending Amendment 3 is “his job.” He would not say what his personal feelings about it are. However, last night he filed a suit with the Utah Supreme Court, seeking to halt all currently underway adoptions in Utah by same-sex couples (who filed their paperwork before SCOTUS put a hold on same-sex marriages in the state).
There’s no clear timeline for when the Judges will issue their ruling. But seeing as how they asked for an expedited timeline to hear the arguments, it’s possible they may issue their opinion within the next few weeks.
UPDATE: The 10th Circuit has released the audio recordings of the hearing. Listen in here.
Image viaÂ Twitter
Follow Author Eric Ethington on TwitterÂ @EricEthington
Eric EthingtonÂ has been specializing in political messaging, communications strategy, and public relations for more than a decade. Originally hailing from Salt Lake City, he now works in Boston for a social justice think tank. Ericâ€™s writing, advocacy work, and research have been featured on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, CNBC, the New York Times, The Telegraph, and The Public Eye magazine. Heâ€™s worked as a radio host, pundit, blogger, activist and electoral campaign strategist. He also writes atÂ NuanceStillMatters.com
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Experts Call on Trump to Release Search Warrant and Inventory List as His Supporters Talk of ‘Civil War’
Legal experts and other experts are urging – or in some cases, daring – Donald Trump to publish a copy of the FBI’s search warrant and the inventory list of the ten cartons of classified documents removed from Mar-a-Lago’s basement Monday, as his supporters openly call for civil war in response to what the former president called a “raid.”
“After the search, the federal agents hauled away roughly 10 more boxes,” The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
That makes the total number of cartons the former president was storing at his Florida home approximately 25, based on reports that 15 cartons had to be retrieved by the National Archives earlier this year.
Almost immediately upon news breaking that the FBI had executed a search warrant, Trump supporters went wild. They formed a convoy outside Mar-a-Lago, and online countless threats of violence and “civil war” have been made.
Tuesday morning CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan posted a graph, noting the “big spike in tweets referencing ‘civil war’ right after the news of the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago broke last night.”
Dr. Caroline Orr Bueno posted an image of a large number of tweets that call for civil war and other related threats of violence, including: “I already bought my ammo,” “Civil war! Pick up arms, people!” “Civil War 2.0 just kicked off,” “Let’s do the war,” and “One step closer to a kinetic civil war.”
And Tuesday afternoon NBC News reported, “After Mar-a-Lago search, users on pro-Trump forums agitate for ‘civil war’ — including a Jan. 6 rioter.”
Legal experts have made clear they believe FBI’s execution of a lawful federal search warrant is most likely in connection with a national security and counterintelligence operation, not a casual stroll into the private estate of a former U.S. president – and certainly not a political move, like Trump supporters are falsely claiming.
Former Dept. of Justice Inspector General Michael Bromwich, who is also a former Asst. U.S. Attorney at the Southern District of New York (SDNY) notes that “Trump has the search warrant, specifying the crimes being investigated, and the inventory of the items seized.”
“He has chosen not to share those items publicly although he is free to do so,” Bromwich adds.
Former U.S. Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal on MSNBC Tuesday morning:
“Donald Trump, you have a copy of the warrant. It explains what they were looking for, what statutes they think were violated, what judge signed off on that…If you believe this is such an abuse, release the warrant and let us decide for ourselves.”
“Donald Trump, you have a copy of the warrant. It explains what they were looking for, what statutes they think were violated, what judge signed off on that…If you believe this is such an abuse, release the warrant and let us decide for ourselves.” @neal_katyal pic.twitter.com/j3PH8m8ACI
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) August 9, 2022
“By the way,” noted Richard Stengel, a former U.S. Under Secretary of State, “Trump now has the search warrant and the inventory of what was taken in his possession. If this raid was so egregious and unjustified, why not release them?”
“Trump can release the search warrant and the inventory of what the FBI took. Why hasn’t he?” asked Marc Elias, the DNC’s top attorney who successfully fought more than 60 cases of alleged election fraud brought by the Trump team and his supporters.
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, responding to a Fox News tweet with video of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) that reads, “‘WE DESERVE ANSWERS NOW'” wrote: “Some of those questions could be answered if Trump released the search warrant as well as the inventory of items seized, which his team presumably has.”
Politico’s Kyle Cheney tweeting his article titled, “Why the Trump search warrant is nothing like Hillary’s emails,” wrote: “One person who could clear most of it up? Trump. He has access to the inventory of records at Mar-a-Lago and likely received a copy of the search warrant. He would also know the nature of the classified documents at issue.”
‘He Was Going to Sacrifice You’: Pence Mocked for Rushing to Support Trump After FBI Mar-a-Lago Raid
Former Vice President Mike Pence, who was by Donald Trump‘s side constantly promoting and defending him when he was President, and who was subjected to Trump’s support of rioters and insurrectionists calling to “hang Mike Pence,” is being highly criticized and mocked for again rushing to defend Trump in the wake of the FBI’s raid at Mar-a-Lago.
Experts have made clear they believe FBI’s execution of a lawful federal search warrant is most likely in connection with a national security and counterintelligence operation, not a casual stroll into the private estate of a former U.S. president.
But not according to Pence, who is strongly believed to be organizing a 2024 presidential run.
“I share the deep concern of millions of Americans over the unprecedented search of the personal residence of President Trump. No former President of the United States has ever been subject to a raid of their personal residence in American history,” he writes.
“After years where FBI agents were found to be acting on political motivation during our administration, the appearance of continued partisanship by the Justice Department must be addressed,” he claims, which is at best a twisting of facts. No FBI agent was found to have taken official action based on personal political beliefs.
“Yesterday’s action undermines public confidence in our system of justice and Attorney General Garland must give a full accounting to the American people as to why this action was taken and he must do so immediately,” Pence demanded.
Pence could have made the exact same demand of Donald Trump, who has a copy of the lawfully executed search warrant and inventory of the likely hundreds or thousands of documents that are the rightful property of the U.S. government, and recovered by the FBI from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.
Meanwhile, Pence was singing a very different tune int he weeks before he was elected Vice President.
“We call on the FBI to immediately release all emails pertinent to their investigation,” he tweeted about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on October 28, 2016. “Americans have the right to know before Election Day.”
Trump “and I commend the FBI for reopening an investigation into Clinton’s personal email server because no one is above the law,” Pence added just hours later.
Responses to Pence’s remarks on Tuesday were strong.
“Mike he was going to sacrifice you,” tweeted Daily Kos staff writer Gabe Ortíz.
“No President has ever attempted to have an armed mob assassinate his Vice President either,” wrote journalist Marcy Wheeler.
Trump sent a “violent mob to murder you so he could end [the] republic,” tweeted economist David Rothschild. “Trump took boxes of classified documents from White House & is known to destroy documents.”
“Trump won in 2016 because FBI intervened on his behalf over ‘concern’ about Clinton’s document retention & security,” he continued. “Not investigating & prosecuting former president who flaunts breaking law, including leading coup against US, undermines rule-of-law for all of US.”
“You don’t know what the FBI’s warrant said or what evidence was presented to the judge who authorized it,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA). “Your suggestion that Trump should be beyond accountability to the law, like your silence when Trump called for imprisonment of his opponents as president, harms our country.”
Talking Points memo editor and founder Josh Marshall writes, “this is a good reminder of who Mike Pence is. None of this happened. The FBI never plotted against Trump. To the extent it has org bias it’s toward the right. Everyone knows this. Pence is just repeating anti-‘deep state’ propaganda invented to give Trump cover for his crimes.”
“The pervasive rightwing lie and conspiracy theory that the FBI is controlled by Biden for political purposes is based on the assumption that everyone in the Biden admin, the FBI, the department of justice, the media and secret service is corrupt and abusing power—and trump is not,” wrote Condé Nast legal affairs editor Luke Zaleski.
Vox’s legal expert, Ian Millhiser asks, “Is there anyone on earth more pathetic than Mike Pence? Donald Trump egged on a lynch mob that wanted Pence hanged, and Pence is still Trump’s toady.”
‘Pledging to Sue’: Christian Nationalist GOP Nominee Subpoenaed by J6 Committee ‘Didn’t Answer a Single Question’
Christian nationalist Doug Mastriano, the Republican Party’s gubernatorial nominee for Pennsylvania who was at the US Capitol on January 6 and is seen as a central figure in the plot to overturn the election, complied with a subpoena to appear before the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack but didn’t answer any questions.
“Trump ally Doug Mastriano’s virtual appearance Tuesday before the House January 6 committee only lasted about 15 minutes,” CNN reports, adding that “‘he didn’t answer a single question,’ according to a source familiar with the matter.”
New York Times reporter Luke Broadwater confirms, adding that Mastriano is “pledging to sue the committee,” although it is unclear on what grounds.
Mastriano is a conspiracy theorist with strong ties to far right wing extremists including antisemitic Gab found Andrew Torba.
CNN adds that “Mastriano’s attorney cut off the virtual appearance soon after it began, the source said. His lawyer, Tim Parlatore, took issue with several procedural matters related to the deposition, and raised questions about the legality of the subpoena that Mastriano received from the panel, the source added.”
As of May the Committee had already interviewed over 1000 people and it appears few, if any, have made these claims.
The New Yorker in May called Mastriano “a leader of the Stop the Steal campaign, and claims that he spoke to Donald Trump at least fifteen times between the 2020 election and the insurrection at the Capitol, on January 6th.”
“He urged his followers to attend the rally at the Capitol that led to the riots, saying, ‘I’m really praying that God will pour His Spirit upon Washington, D.C., like we’ve never seen before.’ Throughout this time, he has cast the fight against both lockdowns and Trump’s electoral loss as a religious battle against the forces of evil. He has come to embody a set of beliefs characterized as Christian nationalism, which center on the idea that God intended America to be a Christian nation, and which, when mingled with conspiracy theory and white nationalism, helped to fuel the insurrection.”
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