A quick thought on Kennedy’s emergency stay

Update 10/10: The stay has been lifted and application denied, without explanation. Marriages in Idaho are back on, and we’ll have to wait until some time in the future (never?) to settle the question of law described below.

Here’s something we’ll be following, although it doesn’t (yet) have a direct effect on the Hoosier state. Yesterday, Anthony Kennedy issued an emergency stay in Idaho’s marriage case.

You might wonder why he would do that, just two days after the Court rejected appeals from three other Circuits.

The reason may lie with how Idaho framed its petition, and if that’s the case, we are in for one hell of an important Supreme Court battle. Continue reading A quick thought on Kennedy’s emergency stay

7th Circuit smacks Outland with sanctions

Here’s a fun story about what not to do. As part of a personal injury case,  Outland Renewable Energy was involved in a complicated mess of claims and counter-claims that were eventually all dismissed or settled. Six months later, Outland sought to amend their claims and re-open the case. Their claim was based on the incredible theory that their own original claims were so “fatally flawed,” that they never should have been allowed in the first place. This didn’t fly.

Then, taking it one step further, they asked for a rehearing, on the same general theory. This time, the other party – no doubt sick of paying their lawyer for this mess – asked for sanctions under Federal Rule 38, under which a court may award single or double costs as punishment for a frivolous appeal. That’s exactly what the Court did.

I don’t know who Outland’s lawyers were, but they should have tried a lot harder to convince their client that it was game over, and they needed to stop.

Preaching state trooper could be in hot water

Lost in all of the marriage equality hullabaloo was this post over at ILB from Sunday night. It seems a state trooper pulled a woman, Ellen Bogan, over for making an illegal pass and used the opportunity to talk to her about Jesus.

According to the complaint, filed in the US District Court for Southern Indiana (read it at ILB), after the officer took her license and brought it back to her along with a warning ticket, “there was no reason to further prolong the stop.” However, the trooper, one Brian Hamilton, remained at the car and proceeded to inquire whether Bogan was from the area and whether she was a Christian. He then gave her religious literature and explained that Jesus had died for her sins.

At each stage, he asked her permission before continuing, but according to Bogan, because of the situation, she did not feel free to refuse.

Bogan is being represented by the ACLU of Indiana.

What the SCOTUS decision means

When the Supreme Court decided not to hear appeals from five states in three circuits regarding same-sex marriage bans, they in effect legalized same-sex marriage in those five states, as well as six others in the same circuits which have similar laws that have not yet been struck down. A majority of Americans now live in states where same-sex marriage is (or shortly will be) legal. Nate Silver and Allison McCann over at FiveThirtyEight have a breakdown.

Lyle Denniston over at SCOTUSblog has an in-depth discussion of what happened, why and what it means on a national level. It is well worth the read. Also, stay on top of things with the Indiana Law Blog, as well.

As for Indiana, when will we see marriage licenses issued? Certainly very soon. The 7th Circuit hasn’t yet made it official, but the Indiana AG is telling county clerks to be ready, as it could happen as early as today or tomorrow. Read the AG Office’s “Important Communication” to county clerks here.

What does the future hold? Well, the Supreme Court has left open the opportunity to revisit this issue, obviously. The Court is probably sitting at a 4-4 vote, with Anthony Kennedy the fence sitter. It’s possible that none of the other Justices wanted to hear the cases because they couldn’t be sure if he would be on their side or not. Not worth the gamble. However, when (and if) a Circuit Court rules in favor of a state ban, the disagreement among the Circuits will virtually guarantee that the Supreme Court will have to decide the issue. If they reverse course, and the bans are again allowed, some states – and in the current climate, Indiana may be one of them – will see same-sex marriages go from banned to not banned to banned again. Unfortunately, that leaves a lot of Hoosier couples in a precarious position. Having this issue decided once and for all was what most people – on either side of the debate – were hoping for.

Monday roundup 10/6

This is more of a September Roundup, really. As promised, I am (finally) back. My goal with this blog is to have more in-depth content and less filler, so I might not post every day from here on, but the posts should be longer with more original thought. But I do plan on keeping the Roundup around. Once a week, just to catch things that slipped through the cracks. Continue reading Monday roundup 10/6