U.S. Eleventh Circuit - The FindLaw 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Lawyer Fails at Suing SCOTUS Over Obergefell Ruining Arguments

Based on a recent ruling out of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, one seemingly rogue attorney, Austin Burdick, has failed in his quest for revenge against five Supreme Court Justices, specifically: Justices Kennedy, Breyer, Ginsberg, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Burdick was claiming, and you may need to read this twice, that:

"...he suffered a concrete injury when the Justices 'rendered the Constitution a nullity' in Obergefell, preventing him from making certain arguments to 'protect his clients' constitutional rights' and depriving him of his interest in his law license."

As it might be expected, Burdick's implausible appeal of the sua sponte dismissal of his case was denied. The district court judge relied on Burdick's lack of standing to pursue the matter, in addition to the lack of a plausible claim.

Details of the Case

If you're hoping for actual intrigue or interesting gossip, this case has none of that. It seems that Burdick, who is actually an attorney, believes that the SCOTUS decision in Obergefell makes him a less effective attorney for his clients. As the appellate court explained, Burdick made these assertions without support, leaving the court to guess what was meant. And, unfortunately for Burdick, neither the lower court nor the appellate court could make heads or tails of what he meant.

What the court understood to be his claim, that the Obergefell decision nullified the constitution and thus harmed his ability to work, just was not borne out by the facts asserted in the pleading. In short, it found that there was no injury in fact on which to sue, and the appellate court affirmed the lower court's ruling.

Revenge Failure

While most people enjoy a good revenge story, this one is more of a revenge failure. Sadly, the motivation for the revenge just seems an inappropriate use of the law and judicial resources.

It's doubtful SCOTUS will hear an appeal of this matter, though don't bet against the house on whether Burdick's going to file a request.

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