Okay, this is no surprise after Kitchen v. Herbert, the Utah gay marriage case that was argued at the same time as this appeal out of Oklahoma. But still, it's yet another chapter in the long battle for marriage equality, and the second federal circuit court of appeals ruling, both from the Tenth Circuit, to explicitly rule in favor of gay marriage.
Recently in Civil Rights Law Category
We didn't think the battle for same-sex marriage could get any more odd than what transpired in Oregon: nobody but an openly gay judge argued in favor of that state's ban, at least until that same judge ruled against it a short time later, after noting that he had no plans to get married.
This might be close. In Boulder, Colorado, County Clerk Hillary Hall decided to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, even though that state's ban still stands. She did so after the Tenth Circuit ruled against a neighboring state, Utah, overturning that state's substantively similar ban. Interestingly enough, the Tenth Circuit also issued a stay in that case -- meaning marriage licenses still aren't being issued in Utah, though they are in Boulder, Colorado.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dissent in the Hobby Lobby case was long. And some might say, lyrical. It also forebode a series of unintended consequences that could flow from the majority's holding: closely held corporations have religious rights and therefore, can't be forced to violate their religion by providing contraceptive coverage.
What does this hypothetical "parade of horribles" contain? And how likely are these predictions to come true?
While everyone's eyes were on the Supreme Court, and the last few days of its term, the Tenth Circuit just dropped an opinion that is just as important, if not more so, than the High Court's slate of cases: it just ruled that Utah's ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional.
The court's ruling is the first to come from one of our nation's appellate courts*, and should impact the states of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming.
It's been more than a decade. Two trips to the Tenth Circuit. And they still haven't sorted out the tab for a $1,791 verdict in a First Amendment dispute.
Years ago, possibly irked over a filed business deal with the county, Michael Zinna launched JeffcoExposed.com and ColoradoExposed.com, two citizen journalist muckraking sites dedicated to shining light on local corruption. And while many citizen journalists peddle in rambling nonsense, others actually prove to be more than a keyboard and an unfilled psychiatric prescription. Zinna won a local reporting award, obtained press credentials, and exposed a handful of scandals.
His reward? ColoradoWackoExposed.com, which targeted Zinna, was launched. Threats and intimidation followed. Zinna responded with First Amendment litigation.
An expedited appeal isn't going to stop third-parties from adding their two cents to the Kansas and Arizona Voter ID case.
Last month, the Tenth Circuit extended a stay against the states and granted an expedited appeal. At issue is whether the two states can pass voter identification laws that not only require voters to present an ID to vote, but require the federal Election Assistance Commission to add language reflecting the requirement to the bare minimum federal form (which only requires the registrant to attest to citizenship).
Now, Democrats from the U.S. House of Representatives have filed an amicus brief in the case, urging the court to block the state laws.
Back in March, a federal district court held that because the National Voter Registration Act did not explicitly preempt states from passing voter registration requirement laws (specifically, proof-of-citizenship laws), the United States Election Assistance Commission could not deny requests from Arizona and Kansas to include proof-of-citizenship requirements on the federal form. By law, the states have to accept the lenient federal form, which at present, only requires one to attest to citizenship.
The case presents interesting questions of state and federal preemption, such as whether the federal government can impliedly set voter registration requirements by requiring acceptance of their own form, and whether states can force the federal government to change their form by passing their own requirements.
For now, though a district court has held in the states' favor, that decision was put on hold by the Tenth Circuit pending an expedited appeal on the merits.
Usually one of the quieter circuits, the Tenth Circuit is now giving legal professionals something to talk about.
With cases percolating, and being argued before the Tenth Circuit (with almost-certain cert petitions following soon), three big issues have come to the forefront in the circuit home to states across the ideological board -- Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.
Here's what you need to know about the big three issues to watch in the Tenth Circuit.
The Supreme Court released its order list Monday, and two notable cases originating in the Tenth Circuit were on it.
One case deals with a procedural issue, and seeks clarification on the pleading requirements for seeking removal to federal court. In the other case, the Court was asked to weigh in on whether New Mexico's public accommodations statute violated the First Amendment's prohibition on compelling speech.
Here's a breakdown of the two cases:
The big day is here. The first federal appellate case post-Windsor made its way through oral arguments this morning, and it was not without its own wave of drama.
Even before the arguments began, Utah officials backtracked on authority used in their briefs. Then, in oral arguments, the panel seemed to be deeply divided, with two judges sticking to their predicted ideological lines, and a third serving as the wildcard.
As the first of a coming wave of same-sex marriage appeals in this circuit, and many other circuit courts of appeal, this case is important as authority for the remaining cases, as well as a possible vehicle for a Supreme Court appeal.