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Virginia marriage equality case to be argued at Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on May 13

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Fourth Circuit map
Fourth Circuit map
Bostic v. Schaefer, the challenge to Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban that’s being litigated by American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies, has been set for argument at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The case will be heard on Tuesday, May 13, in Richmond, Virginia. The district court ruled in favor of the same-sex couples last month.

Lambda Legal and the ACLU sought to intervene in the case to argue on behalf of all same-sex couples in the state. The two organizations are leading their own challenge in Virginia, as a class-action. The Fourth Circuit has granted their request to intervene and participate in the case along with AFER’s plaintiffs.

Virginia’s attorney general, Mark Herring, has declined to defend the ban, though some county officials are arguing in its defense.

Thanks to Kathleen Perrin for this filing

For more information on Bostic v. Rainey (formerly Bostic v. McDonnell)from The Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse, click here.


  • 1. Michael Grabow  |  March 20, 2014 at 8:41 am

    Less than 1.5 miles from my doorstep. Cannot wait.

  • 2. peterplumber  |  March 20, 2014 at 8:57 am

    How many circuit courts do we have cases in right now? I can think of 4th, 6th, 9th & 10th.

  • 3. Scottie Thomaston  |  March 20, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Fifth (Texas).

  • 4. Ragavendran  |  March 20, 2014 at 10:16 am

    That's an odd one out though, isn't it? It's an appeal of a preliminary injunction, unlike the final judgments in all the other cases.

  • 5. Mario  |  March 20, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Peter, also the 5th with the case in Texas.

  • 6. Scottie Thomaston  |  March 20, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Whoops I see you posted that first.

  • 7. Mario  |  March 20, 2014 at 9:09 am

    No problem Scottie! Good luck with all the great work that you do!

  • 8. Fr Bill  |  March 20, 2014 at 10:22 am

    One of the Pennsylvania cases will bring it to the Third Circuit

  • 9. Pat  |  March 20, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Nice: 10th circuit in April, 4th circuit in May, 9th circuit… mmm at this point it might not even be in 2014

  • 10. Retired lawyer  |  March 20, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Is anyone familiar with the process of panel selection in the Fourth Circuit? Has a panel been selected now that a date has been set, or does that occur at a later time? Of the active judges, eight were appointed by Democratic presidents and six by Republican presidents, including Judge Wilkinson–appointed by Ronald Reagan.

  • 11. Terry  |  March 20, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    For those wondering the significance of Wilkinson, here's a quote from Wikipedia:
    In 2006, Wilkinson penned an article in the Washington Post, castigating both the left and right on the issue of gay marriage. He wrote that the "American constitutional tradition" has been a "chief casualty in the struggle over same-sex marriage" and that marriage should be regulated through ordinary legislative means and opposed "the rush to constitutionalize" the dispute

    Wonder if he sees things any different now post-Windsor and all the jurisprudence that's out since then?

    There are truly 9 Democratic appointments and 5 Republican. Gregory was originally nominated by Clinton and then renominated by Bush II was part of a deal.

  • 12. Terry  |  March 20, 2014 at 7:12 pm

  • 13. nick  |  March 21, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    The judge in Michigan was appointed by Reagan.
    He not only stated the bans were unconstitutional, but also refused to give the state a stay which made marriage immediately legal.

    Thus, who knows what judge may go which way.
    The trend of the people and the last 14 decisions have to give them some pause to thought to make a pro-gay decision.

  • 14. Retired lawyer  |  March 20, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    I see that the identity of the panel will not be disclosed until the morning of the hearing in the Fourth Circuit.

  • 15. Mike in Baltimore  |  March 20, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    The 4th Circuit averages 7 months from when an appeal is made to when a decision is handed down, even faster on most major cases.

    The appeal was made on February 24. Seven months would be sometime near the end of September. Oral arguments are scheduled for May 12, – that would leave the court with four months to hand down the decision if it keeps to it's average. The court has given expedited status to the case, so the decision could be handed down anytime between the end of May to the middle of August. (Anyone know if any court, besides SCOTUS, hands down decisions on cases, expedited or not, more than four months after oral arguments? IMO, the exception would probably be the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, but that opinion could change.)

    Even if the court waits to the end of September, the appeal to SCOTUS has a very good possibility of being heard in the 2014/15 term (or for SCOTUS to deny the request for cert).

    I wonder if Fat Tony is starting to write his dissent (15 months early).

  • 16. Marriage Equality Round-U&hellip  |  March 21, 2014 at 7:33 am

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  • 17. nick  |  March 21, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    whatever their decision, I can only hope that they do not allow a stay pending further scrutiny and appeals.
    Let people get married. It doesn't hurt anyone in the meantime.

    That would also allow NC, SC and VA citizens to get married. The other states in its jurisdiction already allow marriages.

  • 18. nick  |  March 21, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Oops. I didn't mention West Virginia which also would be allowed marriage in the decision.

  • 19. Mike in Baltimore  |  March 21, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    The only state in the 4th allowing ME is Maryland (DC is NOT in the 4th Circuit, but in a Circuit all it's own, and Delaware is in the 3rd Circuit).

    And if the decision is for the defendants, not the plaintiffs (keeping in place the Virginia ban on ME), how would not placing a stay allow people in all but Maryland to marry?

  • 20. Is gay rights a civil rig&hellip  |  April 8, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    […] Olson, who has lived in the state since the 1980s, listed the names of the founding fathers who had lived in Virginia. Boies said he and Olson wanted to "implement the principles the founding fathers articulated in Virginia."  They will argue the case Bostic v. Schaefer at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond on May 13. […]

  • 21. Equality On TrialREAD IT &hellip  |  April 11, 2014 at 7:24 am

    […] The case will be argued in the Fourth Circuit on May 13. […]

  • 22. Equality On TrialFederal &hellip  |  August 7, 2014 at 1:53 am

    […] similar challenge to Virginia’s ban will be argued in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on May 13, and the same-sex couples in the class-action have been granted permission to intervene in that […]

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