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Do state officials have the right to decline to defend their state's laws? As we noted before, it is not an easy question. But University of Denver law professor (and rabbi) Kris McDaniel-Miccio, who is a plaintiff in one of the lawsuits challenging her state's gay marriage ban, disagrees: She penned an open letter to Colorado Attorney General John Suthers arguing that it is his duty to not defend the law.

Why? When he was sworn into office, Suthers pledged to uphold the laws and the constitutions of the United States and Colorado. With more than two dozen courts unanimously siding with marriage equality, including the Tenth (twice) and Fourth circuits, McDaniel-Miccio argues that the federal question is settled and that Suthers is not fulfilling the duties of his job by pressing forward.

Previously, Suthers stated that he was only reluctantly defending Colorado's Amendment 43, again, as a matter of duty, and despite his disagreement with the law.

Waiting for action on the Colorado gay marriage battle front? We have good news and bad news.

The good news is this: There have been three major court decisions in the last month addressing Colorado's ban. However, the bad news is that nothing is finalized just yet -- pretty much everything is on hold pending review from higher courts.

A federal court ruled against the state ban earlier this week, as did a state court earlier this month, but both decisions are on hold pending appeal. We've also talked about the rogue clerk who was defying the state's ban by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She's still at it, but other clerks have been ordered to stop.

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.

Congrats, Oklahoma. Like it or not, you're second, and if we were putting bets on it, we'd guess you're headed for the Supreme Court, just like Utah is (and others will be).

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.