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Equality news round-up: Reply briefs filed in support of granting Supreme Court review of marriage cases, and more

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

– Equality Case Files linked to the final reply briefs in the marriage cases at the Supreme Court. As EQCF notes, today’s the last day for cases to be distributed for the January 9 conference. We should find out soon whether all the cases will go to that conference. UPDATE: SCOTUSBlog has more. UPDATE 2: It’s official: the docket pages all reflect the January 9 conference.

– The opening brief in the National Organization for Marriage’s attempt to get attorneys’ fees in its IRS lawsuit is due February 2.

– In Kansas, the state officials defending the ban are trying to get the recognition claims filed by new plaintiffs dismissed.

– Also in Kansas, state officials are trying to get an extension to file their opening brief in the Tenth Circuit. (The request was granted.)

– The plaintiffs who challenged Idaho’s same-sex marriage ban have won over $400,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. Raga  |  December 23, 2014 at 8:11 am


  • 2. RnL2008  |  December 23, 2014 at 9:01 am

    Looks like all are ready for conference on January 9th!!!

    Thanks for the links:-)

  • 3. stevenha  |  December 29, 2014 at 12:15 pm


  • 4. guitaristbl  |  December 23, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Ok so 5 cases will be distributed at the conference and let's see how many if any will the court grant. I do hope they won't be any re listings, we do not have time for that nonsense. Maybe they should just grant them all (at least the 6th circ. cases) to be sure they answer all the possible questions presented.

  • 5. Raga  |  December 23, 2014 at 10:27 am

    I think SCOTUSblog and EoT reported that for their last term, SCOTUS made it a habit to relist cases at least once before granting cert. Does anyone know if they've continued that "habit" into this term so far?

  • 6. DACiowan  |  December 23, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Yeah, aside from one case (Harris v. Viegelahn right before Christmas) , every case has been relisted at least once.

    (PS, what's with the IP address appearing for this website in the address bar?)

  • 7. guitaristbl  |  December 23, 2014 at 10:42 am

    I think there were a couple of cases earlier this month that were granted without any re lists (I do not remember the cases right now tbh but I remember reading the relevant article), but it was noted exactly because it has become a habit to have cases re listed at least once and those grants broke from this line. I don't know if there will be room for the cases to be heard this term if they are granted at the january 16th conference, but let's hope that at least the liberal justices recognise the importance of the cases this time and realize the time restrictions (of course they and only they have authority over their hearing schedule but you know what I mean).

  • 8. Sagesse  |  December 23, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Bearing in mind that (a) they denied cert in four cases on precisely the same topic that were fully briefed at the beginning of the term, (b) the arguments are essentially the same, even though the decision is different and (c) they've been expecting the 6th circuit appeals for months… perhaps they can grapple with these cases without relisting.

  • 9. Raga  |  December 23, 2014 at 11:47 am

    I think the question is which case to take, rather than whether to take a case at all. They may need more time to look into the specific factul background of the cases before choosing the "best vehicle". Although, the fact that DeBoer is the only case with a trial record should make it a no-brainer, IMO. Let's see.

  • 10. Zack12  |  December 23, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    I hope they take both and strike down in and out of state bans.
    Only doing the latter will be a loss in my book.

  • 11. ijsnyder  |  December 23, 2014 at 11:04 am

    DeBoer has been DISTRIBUTED!

  • 12. jpmassar  |  December 23, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Kenneth A. Kent, executive director of the Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers, issued a statement Tuesday saying his group’s legal position “remains unchanged.”

    U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle in August found the ban unconstitutional but placed a stay on his ruling. That stay is scheduled to expire at the end of the day January 5th.

    “Our general counsel has advised us that established case law makes it clear that the order of a trial court, including the federal district court in this case, is not binding on any other court,” Kent said in the statement. “Further, it is the understanding of the Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers that the only courts that can bring judicial clarity to this question through a binding, statewide decision are the U.S. Supreme Court, the Florida Supreme Court or a Florida District Court of Appeals. Absent a ruling from one of those three bodies, our opinion, as previously presented by our general counsel, will not change.”

    The statement added, however, that the group’s general counsel has recommended the Washington County clerk file an emergency motion with Hinkle to seek clarification about the intended scope of his ruling.

  • 13. Raga  |  December 23, 2014 at 11:28 am

    My only question is, why haven't the plaintiffs or any of the clerks (there has to be at least one pro-equality clerk somewhere in FL) still not asked Hinkle to clarify his injunction??? The "confusion" has been in existence for a few days now. The sooner this is cleared up, the better.

  • 14. franklinsewell  |  December 23, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Tut-tut. I read the legal opinion from FCCC's counsel. They said a binding, statewide decision could come from 11CA as well. Mr. Kent may be distorting the facts.

  • 15. Eric  |  December 23, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    If a district judge's ruling isn't binding upon other parties, why are they bothering to ask for a scope clarification? Either the judge has jurisdiction or he doesn't. Greenberg is anti-gay and trying to cover its ass.

  • 16. GregInTN  |  December 23, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    This position is sounding very similar to what the Prop 8 folks tried to pull after SCOTUS told them they didn't have standing and the 9th Circuit's ruling was vacated leaving Walker's District Court ruling in place. They cited a provision in the CA State Constitution that said officials could only honor a ruling of unconstitutionality that came from an Appeals Court and since Walker's ruling wasn't from an Appeals Court, it didn't count.

    They completely ignored the fact that the CA Constitution was talking about cases argued in State courts that resulted in a ruling of unconstitutionality.

    I believe they filed a case in CA State Court and didn't get anywhere with their claim.

  • 17. netoschultz  |  December 23, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    We have a great Governor and a great Attorney General in California that made sure equality was applied in all the state or they would sue any county that didn't comply with the ruling. In Florida, we have Pam Bondi and Rick Scott.

  • 18. VIRick  |  December 23, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    Actually, at this moment in time, Bondi should be issuing guidance as to what the various county clerks need to do in order to comply with the district court order, now that SCOTUS has denied her request for a stay extension. Instead, she hasn't said squat, as if that's going to make the whole issue go away.

    As for Scott, he whined and whined until his name was removed from the cases. Remember, they were once dubbed "Brenner v. Scott" and "Grimsley v. Scott." Ever since they became "Brenner v. Armstrong" and "Grimsley v. Armstrong," he also hasn't said squat, as if he now has nothing to do with it.

    Instead, we'll have to rely on the next level of state officials, the states' attorneys for Florida's 20 judicial districts.State Attorney Aronberg of Palm Beach county said his office would not enforce an unconstitutional law. "We will not prosecute same-sex couples who express their lifelong commitment to one another through marriage, or the clerks of court who take part in the process," Aronberg said. "We also do not prosecute unmarried heterosexual couples who co-habitate in violation of (still current) Florida law."

    Bondi in particular should take note of that last sentence.

  • 19. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 24, 2014 at 8:31 am

    Completely agree that AG Bondi should provide guidance to the state attorney for each district, as well as the County Clerks (not sure what state level official they either dotted line or directly report up to – the Secretary of State?). I know the Governor and AG were removed as defendants, but I'd like the AG and Secretary of State added back in so their officers are enjoined from enforcing the unconstitutional amendment and statutes. While I'd hope none of the 20 states' attorneys would prosecute against a law that while on the books in Florida is unconstitutional and unenforceable as of 1/6/15, it seems we will have trouble with a portion of the 67 county clerks issuimg licenses on that date. So back to court we will have to go to get an order of clarification from Judge Hinkle?

    For what it's worth, I'm thoroughly enjoying the fact that you decided to join EoT and comment! What part of Florida are you in? Wilton Manors here.

  • 20. VIRick  |  December 24, 2014 at 10:18 am

    I actually no longer live in Florida, but when I did, I lived in Jacksonville and then Sarasota, but still have a lot of friends in both cities. I've relocated myself back to the Virgin Islands (and yes, we'd have another lawsuit in a new jurisdiction, if I could find a worthwhile husband).

    In any case, the "Tampa Bay Times" of 23 December has a wonderful editorial, summarizing my own sentiment:

    "In an ideal world, when a federal judge declares that a state measure violates the U.S. Constitution, Florida officials wouldn't need a road map to do the right thing. But four months after a federal judge struck down Florida's ban on same-sex marriages, apparently more guidance is needed. The cleanest solution is likely for U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle to confirm what he probably feels he already said in the eloquent 33-page ruling he penned in August: Florida's limit on whom someone can marry is unconstitutional and any same-sex couple seeking to exercise the right to marry should not be denied — no matter which Florida county they reside in."

  • 21. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 24, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Ah the "VIRick" now makes complete sense! Maybe after SCOTUS rules this summer, we can all come down to the Virgin Islands for a celebration… Maybe a worthwhile husband will show up at the party!

    That's a very concise article that is full of wisdom. No roadmap is necessary, it's plain and simple: the bans and punishment of clerks are no longer valid nor enforceable. Agree that Judge Hinkle is probably wondering why the hell he has to clarify anything given the ruling STRIKES down the amendment and associated statutes. But alas, some of our friends in the GOP running the state and social conservatives need more clarity and have it spelled out. Maybe Hinkle needs a law clerk to start gathering the names of the 67 counties and county clerk names for his amended order. Let me help,get it started for my home county:
    – Broward County Clerk of the Courts: Howard C. Forman

  • 22. guitaristbl  |  December 23, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Update : The dockets (linked by Raga above) have been updated for all 4 cases from the 6th circuit and they have been distributed for the January 9 conference.

  • 23. Raga  |  December 23, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Yay! Looking forward to a favorable cert grant order on the afternoon of January 9. If they relist, chances are slim that a case will be argued and decided this term.

  • 24. franklinsewell  |  December 23, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Raga – Lyle over at SCOTUSBlog has oft reported that cases heard in conference anytime in January have a good chance to be scheduled / decided in the current term. I'm hopeful that will be the case, then, even if they are re-listed once or twice.

  • 25. Raga  |  December 23, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Yes, while that is generally the case, this term, they've already agreed to decide 72 cases. Their typical annual load is 75-80. This means there are spots this term for 3-8 more cases. If they grant enough cases in their January 9 conference and relist the marriage cases, the likelihood becomes smaller that a marriage case will be granted in time for a decision this term. That's my concern… Relist once, there may still be a chance, relist twice, the chances are slimmer. It all depends on the other cases that are competing for cert.

  • 26. franklinsewell  |  December 23, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Yeah… I gotcha. It could be a concern, but the number of cases they've granted per conference has been like 2 or 3; the January 9 conference is a marathon one, but … still hopeful! 🙂

  • 27. Zack12  |  December 23, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    The only other big case that I know of right now is the ACA/Obamacare case and they've already agreed to hear that.
    I think they will take a gay marriage case as well and get two big cases off their plates.

  • 28. DeadHead  |  December 23, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Maybe it is possible the SCOTUS justices, among themselves only, have already set aside one of those slots for the ME case(s) to be heard tentatively on the assumption all the briefs/replies would be on the docket by the deadline.

  • 29. Raga  |  December 23, 2014 at 11:34 am

    As if in response to my comment above, there is now an emergency motion asking Hinkle to clarify. The docket entry reads "MOTION Emergency For Clarification and Memorandum of Law by HAROLD BAZZELL." Harold Bazzell is the Washington County Clerk:

    On reading the motion, it only asks Hinkle whether Washington County Clerk must grant licenses to the named plaintiffs, or to everyone who applies in Washington County.

    The question of whether it applies statewide is not raised. I wish someone would file a motion and ask that question soon.

  • 30. brandall  |  December 23, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Bazzell's motion mentions nothing about only SCOTUS, the FSC or an Appeals Court being able to force a ruling across the entire state as Kent states in his announcement. It merely asks for clarification citing no procedural or precedent citations.

    I can't help but think of Baker. SCOTUS denied the stay without comment which is not a ruling.

  • 31. Eric  |  December 23, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Baker was a ruling on the merits, a stay is not.

  • 32. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 23, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    This should NOT even be a discussion point. How would the decision in PA or OR be implemented given it was a district court ruling that wasn't decided by the 9CA and 3CA respectively?

    Part 4 of Hinkle's order enjoins ALL officials from enforcing the state constitutional amendment and state laws – all clearly called out – against marriage equality. Simple as that. What is there for Hinkle to clarify? And the emergency motion by the Washington County Clerk is just as asinine… Really you think the order may JUST apply to the one couple? Seriously? Part 6 gives relief to the specific plantiff and instructs the Washington County Clerk to issue a license. Part 4 tells the AG, Dept of Health, and all 67 clerks to stop the discrimination and recognize the right to marry of same-gender couples.

    I'm not a lawyer, a country clerk, or have any legal education, but the order states it all. I hope they enjoy marshals dragging their asses to federal court and enjoy paying civil penalties for defying a federal court order. Then then can sue their association and their legal team for being idiots.

    Edited to add Part 4: "The defendant Secretary of the Florida Department of Management Services and the defendant Florida Surgeon General must take no steps to enforce or apply these Florida provisions on same-sex marriage: Florida Constitution, Article I, § 27; Florida Statutes § 741.212; and Florida Statutes § 741.04(1). The preliminary injunction set out in this paragraph will take effect upon the posting of security in the amount of $500 for costs and damages sustained by a party found to have been wrongfully enjoined. The preliminary injunction binds the Secretary, the Surgeon General, and their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys—and others in active concert or participation with any of them—who receive actual notice of this injunction by personal service or otherwise.".

    So I guess the question is should "county clerks" been added in that list if they aren't considered an officer, agent, or employee of the Secretary or Surgeon General…which I assume they are not. So okay, Judge Hinkle, amend your order to include the 67 county clerks to be utterly clear, even though you've clearly ruled the constitutional amendment and relative state statues are enjoined from being enforced. And who and when does that $500 security get paid, and it has to be by someone wrongfully enjoined? So a clerk has to deny a license, someone post this security, then it takes hold? Ugh…Hinkle, help!!!

  • 33. brandall  |  December 23, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Their counsel is advising them that only SCOTUS, a Federal AC or the Florida SC can prevent them from enforcing the ban. Otherwise, they technically (according to the letter of the law) can be arrested and charged. You are correct that Hinkle was quite clear, but they are saying his ruling has no power due to his only being a District Judge.

    I do not remember any state trying to use this defense in upholding their ban. And, I don't recall another state where their law went specifically targeted the county clerks for disobeying the law with charges and fines.

    It is disconcerting that this law firm has been in favor of ME according to other EoT'ers.

  • 34. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 23, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    It just defies our whole federal judicial system to say that his order doesn't apply. He struck down a state constitutional amendment and several statutes. Period. The laws, as of 1/6/15, will be moot and unenforceable. Who doesn't get that?

  • 35. brandall  |  December 23, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    To your point about OR and PA. Remember, the State did not appeal those rulings. They gave up within a day of the ruling, so there was no test of the District Court's ability to enforce its' ruling.

    I actually find it interesting that no EoT'ers have jumped to provide legal or Federal constitutional precedent supporting the right of a District Court to overturn the legality of an article in a State Constitution. We've discussed/debated many court powers, but not this one.

  • 36. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 23, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    Appreciate the back and forth with me on this – a lil bit passionate given Florida is my current state of residence.

    I just don't understand how this isn't normal course of federal judicial business. Federal judge invalidates state law based on US Constitution, ruling is temporarily stayed, no extension of stay by 11CA or SCOTUS (thereby blessing the injunction and timing), stay ends on 1/5/15, all officers of the state on 1/6/15 abide by the ruling. Simple enough – why is there confusion?

    I guess we wait for 1/6/15 and someone goes into a county clerk's office, gets denied, then we go to Judge Hinkle and does whatever it is he needs to do (just wish he could preemptively do it now).

  • 37. VIRick  |  December 23, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    You're not the only one who is quite passionate about Florida. After months of lurking, I finally registered just so I could reply to you and address your concerns. Your reasoning is perfectly sound. And like you, it's all crystal clear in my mind.

    The FCCC is receiving very biased legal advice from Greenberg, Traurig. Their memo is not a court order. Judge Hinkle is the one issuing the court order, one with uniform statewide application, once the stay expires. The states' attorneys for Orange/Osceola, Palm Beach, and Monroe counties are all in agreement.

  • 38. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 23, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    Very glad to see you on here Rick (assuming that's best way to address you). Thank you for that response, as I'm glad others have the same interpretation.

    Agree on that memo, as it has no forceability, it's prely their "view" of the situation – one that frankly astonishes me given their profession. I have been heartened to hear that several states' attorneys have said there is no basis for them to charge the country clerks as of 1/6/15.

  • 39. VIRick  |  December 23, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    They all have that right. Just on marriage equality alone, Federal District Courts have overturned articles in state constitutions in Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, Arizona, Montana, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, Wisconsin, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, and Texas. So, Oregon's decision wasn't appealed. Neither was Montana's. Nor was Arizona's (except for the payment-of-fees angle). Nor was North Carolina's (by anyone with standing). Although all the others were appealed, it's not a requirement. (I've ignored Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, and Wyoming, as those states merely had statutory bans, although 3 of 4 were not appealed).

    At the moment, any number of protagonists on both sides are being blinded by the knee-jerk reaction in so many red states to appeal simply for the sake of appealing, and by the fact that we've been lulled into the posture of stays remaining in place until after the circuit court ruled. The stay in Florida is expiring, never mind that the 11th circuit hasn't yet ruled. That's actually the new angle here.

    We should also remember that the district court decisions in Utah, Michigan, and Wisconsin were originally issued without stays. The offending constitutional bans were instantly enjoined from being enforced and couples were immediately married.

  • 40. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 23, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    ^^ Everything he said. That's what I'm screaming!!! The stay expires, and at the consent of both the 11CA and SCOTUS. Done and done.

  • 41. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  December 23, 2014 at 6:11 pm


    Hi 🙂

  • 42. brandall  |  December 23, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Hi! I hope your internet connection stays up as you encounter the Christmas Eve blast coming your way! As you can see, I continue to watch ME in Florida very closely as several of my former NY friends moved there and want to marry. Happy Holidays.

  • 43. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  December 23, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Back at ya!

  • 44. SPQRobin  |  December 23, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Big news! "The Food and Drug Administration announced on Tuesday that it would scrap a decades-old lifetime prohibition on blood donation by gay and bisexual men, a change that experts said was long overdue and could lift the annual blood supply by as much as 4 percent."

  • 45. Randolph_Finder  |  December 23, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Still with "lifting the lifetime ban but keeping in place a more modest block on donations by men who have had sex with other men in the last 12 months."

    Still a significant step. Would prefer Spain's "Have you had more than one partner in the last 6 months" (refering to both heterosexual and homosexual sex), but OTOH, even active Lesbians aren't a high risk from what I understand…

    Don't think this reflects anti-gay feelings in general, but rather (lower case c) conservative views which see this as something that should be moved in small steps, *not* because of any feeling of "icky gays" but rather "change and honestly study the results, then based on the results, do it again.

  • 46. weaverbear  |  December 23, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    So, even in this day and age, a man in a monogamous marriage (this site is after all devoted in large part to our community's marital rights), if you've had sex with your husband in the past year, you still cannot donate.

    Nope, not giving up sex with my husband just to be able to start donating blood again. The Red Cross can just kiss my [email protected]@ – except that might disqualify them from donating blood.

  • 47. Randolph_Finder  |  December 23, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    This has *nothing* to do with the Red Cross. The American Red Cross and any other organization in this country that handles blood *must* follow the FDA rules on this. Want someone to kiss your ass on this, it's the FDA itself.

    To me, this is like a state jumping from gay anal sex being illegal to having Civil Unions. You take your victories, you keep working and know that your opponents are more annoyed than you are.

  • 48. Eric  |  December 23, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    The Red Cross was silent on this unscientific bigotry for how long? Is the Red Cross opposed to the new policy, that gays that don't act gay can donate blood?

  • 49. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  December 24, 2014 at 4:44 am

    The Red Cross has not been silent on the issue. They have opposed lifetime deferment of MSMs for a long time. Whatever stokes your fire though.

  • 50. A_Jayne  |  December 23, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    But they are still operating on the assumption that gay men have sex on a regular basis with more than one partner, while also operating on the assumption that married heterosexuals never have sex with anyone except their spouses. Both assumptions are foolish.

  • 51. Randolph_Finder  |  December 23, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Percentagewise, they'd be safest with just Lesbians, but that wouldn't give enough of a supply of blood.

    (editing as I think about it)
    I look at it this way, I think there was a time in the 1980s when the policy that the FDA is proposing for 2015 *would* have been safer than no limitations at all. I don't know if that's still true. I also don't know if it isn't true then when it became not true. Are they moving in the right direction yes. Have they gotten there, no.

  • 52. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 23, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Concur…its total bullshit. A lot of heterosexual men are just as promiscuous! All the blood gets screened period. Anyone should be asked if they have had unprotected sex with ANYONE in the last whatever so it's clear the risk is greater. But to single out gay men, even those monogamous ones, is a load of shit.

  • 53. Eric  |  December 23, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    And people will still die, because otherwise eligible gays are still prohibited from donating organs. The new policy is unscientific bigotry. Heterosexuals can engage in anonymous unprotected anal sex orgies and still donate the next day, whereas monogamous gays that test HIV- are denied. The Obama administration is gay tolerant as long as the gays are celibate.

  • 54. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  December 24, 2014 at 4:55 am

    You make it sound like Obama is the puppet master over the whole executive branch and the FDA is one of those puppets. Our executive branch does not work that way, no matter how anyone may believe in or advocate for a "unitary executive."

  • 55. JayJonson  |  December 24, 2014 at 6:05 am

    Yes, the Obama administration has nothing to do with this absurd policy. The FDA is supposed to base its decisions on the best science. They are not doing so. Whatever their motivations, it has nothing to do with the President.

    Some people who had been blaming Obama for high gas prices, saying that was ruining the economy, are now blaming Obama for low gas prices, saying that will ruin the economy.

  • 56. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  December 24, 2014 at 6:07 am


  • 57. montezuma58  |  December 24, 2014 at 8:07 am

    The FDA should be making decisions based solely on scientific evidence. That doesn't always happen. Look at the labeling decisions on Plan B and the subsequent decisions to make it over the counter with the corresponding age restrictions. Administrations from both sides of the aisle have meddled in those decisions contrary ton what medical evidence indicated.

  • 58. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  December 24, 2014 at 8:19 am

    The FDA is quite frequently stacked with former agrobusiness and pharmaceutical executives and/or lobbyists. It's not immune to the DC-lobbyist revolving door.

  • 59. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 24, 2014 at 8:37 am

    If all else fails, just blame the president for what's going wrong. If something is going well or right, not a chance he has anything to do with it. Call it what you want, but I know what I believe it is.

    If Romney was president right now with this economic growth, low unemployment, record stock prices, low gasoline prices, and smallest deficit as a percentage of the GDP since Clinton had surpluses, he'd be HAILED as the savior of our country and reversing the horrific one term Obama presidency. But no, we won't see or hear any of that given our first bi-racial president is still in the White House.

    (I'm not saying everything is peachy either, or I agree with Obama on everything – we have a middle class that is hurting and shrinking, I want universal healthcare, and poverty addressed. But that's seperate than the point I'm making above.)

  • 60. SoCal_Dave  |  December 24, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Wish I could give a hundred "thumbs up"

  • 61. Eric  |  December 24, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Who does the head of the FDA report to? Hint: executive branch. Do you honestly think the FDA would issue a policy change without vetting it by the White House first? You can engage in all the apologetics you like. I prefer to hold my elected officials accountable for their anti-gay policies.

  • 62. Pat_V  |  December 23, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    OK, so the cases have been distributed for the January 9th conference. I understand there are only a few available "slots" for SCOTUS hearings this term (how many slots are there left, i.e. how many cases can they still take this term?)
    In case they get more cases, do they have some flexibility? like, if their schedule is all full and they get a super important case in a late conference, do they sometimes accommodate their timetable to add an extra hearing? Or is it really all very rigid?

  • 63. JayJonson  |  December 23, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    SCOTUS occasionally adds a couple of days to their schedule. So, yes, they could extend the term beyond June 29 if they want to do so or believe that they need to do so.

  • 64. Pat_V  |  December 23, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    oh, do they hear cases all way to late June? I thought at the end of the term they are busy writing opinions and June 29 is the very last time they deliver opinions.

  • 65. Raga  |  December 23, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    They hear cases until mid-April, I think. Then they get busier writing opinions. They add a couple of extra days at the end if they feel they need more time finishing them up. This year, they could add one or two dates late June / early July to wrap up. If a marriage case is granted now, it will almost certainly be argued in April, so the decision will most likely not be handed down before June 29.

  • 66. jpmassar  |  December 23, 2014 at 8:49 pm


    LITTLE ROCK — Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said Tuesday he would initiate an appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that Arkansas’ ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

    McDaniel said he had not filed a notice of appeal with the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in St. Louis sooner because he was hoping the Arkansas Supreme Court would rule in a separate challenge to the same-sex marriage ban.

    “Had they done so, their guidance would have been helpful,” he said in a statement. “Because it appears that the Arkansas Supreme Court will not announce its decision before December 26, which is the deadline to submit a notice of appeal in the federal case, I believe it is necessary to file this notice, in keeping with my obligation to oppose all challenges to our state constitution.”

  • 67. RnL2008  |  December 23, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    To all of my EoT friends…….I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays/Season's Greetings/Blessed Yule/ Happy Hanukkah/Happy Kwanzaa or whatever greetings you prefer……please be safe through the Holidays and Remember that I truly appreciate and love all of you…..I consider you all EXTENDED family:-)

    Can I get a Big Wiggle?

    Here's a little Christmas music from Billy Gilman:

  • 68. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 23, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    Same to you and yours Rose! Cheers

  • 69. RnL2008  |  December 23, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    Thanks Ryan……….cheers to you as well…….we have much to be thankful for this year and we still have much work ahead of us…..but I truly believe that the right to marry fight is almost over…but saying that also means the next fight is around the corner…..and I am of the opinion that the next battle will clearly start to show the animus we have known all along and that's the Religious Freedom Act that will be coming.

  • 70. DeadHead  |  December 24, 2014 at 7:06 am

    MSNBC has a good info graphic and story on LGBTQ equality… GBT advocates foresee new struggles on the horizon with the rise of so-called “religious freedom” measures. Nineteen states have enacted Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs,) which require the government to prove a law that violates someone’s sincerely held beliefs – such as a marriage equality or nondiscrimination law – serves a compelling interest and accomplishes that goal using the least restrictive means possible. Lawmakers in South Carolina and Texas have prefiled a stronger religious freedom bill. Critics argue that these religious freedom measures could become a license to discriminate against LGBT people as they win hard-fought marriage rights and other legal protections. Based off the status of marriage equality, adoption codes, nondiscrimination laws, RFRAs, and public opinion, msnbc graded the states on where they stand with LGBT equality. Take a look at the scores from 0- 6 at

  • 71. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  December 24, 2014 at 4:56 am


  • 72. RnL2008  |  December 24, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Love ya Wolf…'s a BIG HUG for ya:-)

  • 73. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  December 24, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Back at ya, love!

  • 74. JayJonson  |  December 24, 2014 at 6:07 am

    Happy Holidays, Rose!

  • 75. RnL2008  |  December 24, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Happy Holidays to you as well Jay!!

  • 76. Jaesun100  |  December 24, 2014 at 5:50 am

    Chants ….."50 in 15"! "50 in 15"!"50 in 15"!"50 in 15"!"50 in 15"!"50 in 15"!"50 in 15"!"50 in 15"!"50 in 15"!"50 in 15"!

  • 77. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  December 24, 2014 at 6:01 am

    Love it!

  • 78. Jaesun100  |  December 24, 2014 at 7:30 am

    What a year it's been, only 14 or so states to go !
    Economy is going through the roof , stocks at record highs, jobs booming , gas down , 80% GLBT in ME states, DADT Dead. It's the ROARING 20/60s all in one …. I'm gonna enjoy it 🙂
    Good way to end the year, much progress has been made on all fronts.

  • 79. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  December 24, 2014 at 8:17 am

    Same here!!!

  • 80. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 24, 2014 at 8:43 am

    I'm still confused on how we should classify Missouri (I count Kansas as full equality even though it seems some counties are being difficult or no marriage license applications have been requested).

    I believe it's 35 states + DC if you don't count Mizzou, 36 if you include them. Florida will be akin to Kansas come 1/16/15, so that 37 including MO. I really was hoping we'd have Arkansas by now given the deadline of their State Supreme Court term ending and justice turnover for 38. I'd still like to see the 11CA have orals and rule while SCOTUS entertains certiorari from the 6CA, adding GA and AL since SCOTUS wouldnt put a stay on that ruling just like they didn't on FL's district court ruling (still SHOCKED by that early Christmas present).

  • 81. scream4ever  |  December 24, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Florida will likely be resolved before the stay is lifted since Judge Hinkle will clarify his ruling. In Arkansas the judges aren't seated until January 5th, so they still have time to issue a ruling (which I suspect will be on the final day of session). The 8th Circuit may very well lift the stay in Missouri given the Supreme Court's refusal to stay Florida's ruling and also the fact that Missouri's governor and attorney general have made it clear that they do not oppose such action. We could also have South Dakota at anytime, and the Nebraska case will receive a hearing at the end of January.

  • 82. Elihu_Bystander  |  December 24, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Here are some direct links to the new Kansas briefs.

    Doc 57 – Defendant Moser's Motion to Dismiss:

    Doc 59 – Memo in support of Defendants Hamilton and Lumbreras's Motion to Dismiss:

    Doc 67 – Plaintiffs' opposition to Defendants Moser's motion to dismiss:

    Doc 68 – Plaintiffs' opposition to Defendants Hamilton and Lumbreras's motion to dismiss:

  • 83. sfbob  |  December 24, 2014 at 8:47 am

    I get an error message when I try your links; I suspect the problem is the "httpS" in them; if you're logged into Scribd the links will go to your personal account. Let me see if I can find some non-secure links…

  • 84. sfbob  |  December 24, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Doc 68:

  • 85. sfbob  |  December 24, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Doc 57:

  • 86. sfbob  |  December 24, 2014 at 9:13 am

    …and for some reason I can't find document 59

  • 87. sfbob  |  December 24, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Doc 67:

  • 88. Elihu_Bystander  |  December 24, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Thanks for your help.

  • 89. Raga  |  December 24, 2014 at 8:51 am

    BREAKING: Federal Judge Hinkle Agrees to Clarify, Sets Deadline. In an order issued this morning, Judge Hinkle has agreed to clarify the scope of the preliminary injunction he issued. Here is the text of the order:

    So that the Clerk’s motion may be properly resolved,


    1. The Secretary of the Department of Management Services must file by December 29, 2014, a response to the Clerk’s motion to clarify. The response must explicitly set out the Secretary’s position on whether paragraph 4 of the preliminary injunction binds a Florida clerk of court.

    2. The Secretary also must file by December 29, 2014, a copy of each paper the Secretary filed in the Eleventh Circuit or Supreme Court on the stay issue or on the effect the preliminary injunction will have if not stayed.

    3. The Surgeon General and the plaintiffs may file by December 29, 2014, a response to the Clerk’s motion to clarify.

    SO ORDERED on December 24, 2014.

  • 90. Rick55845  |  December 24, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Why does Judge Hinkle require the Secretary of the Department of Management Services to file a response to the Clerk's motion to clarify? Can't he just clarify his ruling directly?

  • 91. brandall  |  December 24, 2014 at 9:14 am

    What is there to clarify? He must be asking because he's scratching his head saying what is not clear about my order:

    ""[Paragraph 4:] The defendant Secretary of the Florida Department of Management Services and the defendant Florida Surgeon General must take no steps to enforce or apply these Florida provisions on same-sex marriage: Florida Constitution, Article I, § 27; Florida Statutes § 741.212; and Florida Statutes § 741.04(1)."

    FDMS oversees the County Clerks and the Surgeon General oversees the Dept of Health which issues marriage certificates across the state.

    Here is an excellent article just published (doesn't include the new Hinkle order) that provides more details on this issue:

  • 92. Rick55845  |  December 24, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Thanks, brandall.

    I noticed a factual inaccuracy in that article you referenced. It says:

    "Then in August, Tallahassee Judge Robert Hinkle overturned Florida's gay marriage ban. That ruling has been appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court, which ended the fight by refusing to hear Attorney General Pam Bondi's appeal."

    No one has appealed Hinkle's ruling to the Supreme Court. It's only been appealed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Bondi asked SCOTUS to extend Hinkle's stay, which they denied, and which the 11th CA had also previously denied when she made that request to them.

  • 93. brandall  |  December 24, 2014 at 10:03 am

    You are correct. I contacted the journalist and provided him the correct status of the appeal. I always refer to EoT if they have any doubts about corrections and they usually respond back with a thank you and do a correction update or a correction in the next release.

  • 94. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 24, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    If I had ANY wish regarding Judge Hinkle's order, it would have been to leave in the Attorney General, so all the AGs officers (i.e. States' Attoneys) would also be included, since they are the ones that would bring charges to the County Clerks in "violation" of the statute (nullified and unforceable as of 1/6/15) regarding providing a marriage license to same-gender couples.

    With Judge Hinkele's order today though, it is quite clear and obvious he will rule by 1/2/15 (after replies are due on 12/29) and ensure all county clerks are aware they cannot withhold a marriage certificate from a same-gender couple or be in violation of a federal court order (that's a no-no!).

  • 95. Raga  |  December 24, 2014 at 10:26 am

    This is a fantastic article (barring that one factual error)! Thanks for sharing, brandall. I like this part:

    "Here is something no one knows," said Brenner. "Yesterday [my attorney] Bill Sheppard sent 67 letters to all of the county clerks fulfilling the last sentence in paragraph 4 and putting them all on notice that they are agents of the Department of Health and must do their job."

    This is awesome! So, for Christmas, the dear clerks get a letter warning them they have to comply with the preliminary injunction, because they have now "receive[d] actual notice of this injunction by personal service or otherwise," fulfilling the requirements of Paragraph 4 🙂

    I really wish the Plaintiffs do file a formal response, clearly laying out the logic in this article.

  • 96. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 24, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    I cannot WAIT to read the formal response by the DMS (very happy yo know that's where the County Clerks report up to, therefore they ARE named in the order in paragraph 4) as to how they believe the order impacts their clerks.

    IT IS SO BEYOND obvious the Judge Hinkle is questioning the aptitude of these department lawyers, as he (as well as many of us) believe his order was clear and textbook. The order specifically handles the overall issue (i.e. amendment and statutes are unconstitutional and can't be enforced) in paragraph 4, while providing specific relief to the plantiffs in paragraph 5 & 6.

  • 97. Steve84  |  December 24, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    >"are agents of the Department of Health and must do their job"

    Something I bet most of them weren't aware of

  • 98. Raga  |  December 24, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Due process? Just making sure the other side gets a chance to respond?

  • 99. brandall  |  December 24, 2014 at 9:20 am

    I would totally concur. He's been textbook careful in his stay orders. He has the time to make sure he doesn't stumble at the 1 yard line.

  • 100. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 24, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    And for us to get a chance to make a mockery of their reply since it will have no basis whatsoever or any rational reasoning. Huh, similar to their arguments for the case itself!

  • 101. sfbob  |  December 24, 2014 at 9:16 am

    I can see it now in the briefs:

    "Question presented: Which part of 'unconstitutional' do respondents fail to understand?"

  • 102. brandall  |  December 24, 2014 at 9:18 am

    The "un"….

  • 103. brandall  |  December 24, 2014 at 10:14 am

    "Clearly, county officials work in concert with state officials. We are not 67 states,” said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, which sued the state on behalf of LGBT-rights group SAVE and eight same-sex couples legally married elsewhere. “It’s like he’s saying, ‘What part of the word unconstitutional don’t you understand.’

    Mr. Simon must have read your mind or your EoT comment!

    Read more here:…t clear about my order:

  • 104. sfbob  |  December 24, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Sometimes the lines just write themselves. 🙂

  • 105. palerobber  |  December 24, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    from the article:

    "Greenberg Traurig’s Miami-based co-president, Hilarie Bass, said in a statement Wednesday she is happy Hinkle will clarify his order. 'It confirms that he has not yet determined whether his original order applies to other county clerks.' "

    uh, yeah, that's it — Hinkle hasn't decided yet.

    btw, here's Hilarie Bass on Monday:
    "The denial of the stay by the U.S. Supreme Court does not change our advice to the Florida Association of Court Clerks & Comptrollers that Judge Hinkle’s ruling only applies to the Washington County clerk."

    now how could that be, if Hinkle hadn't decided yet?

  • 106. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 24, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    If I were the other co-president, I'd remove her as the one addressing the media STAT! What an embarrassment as a law firm to make that asinine of a comment. He hasn't determined? Seriously? He's playing you for a fool woman! He wants to have a reply filed to codify in writing how ignorant the Florida executive branch and their officers are. Simple as that.

    HOW CAN ONLY ONE COUNTY AND ONE CLERK BE TOLD THAT THE AMENDMENT AND STATUTES ARE UNCONSTITUTIONAL??? To the point above, Florida is not 67 different states; one constitution, which an amendment has been found to be unconstitutional, and must be enjoined from enforcement. So unless the 66 other counties don't abide by the FL Constitution, and further more don't subscribe to the Federal Judiciary and therefore the US Constitutional, they need to have those marriage licenses ready to go for the gays on 1/6/15.

  • 107. DACiowan  |  December 24, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Weirdly, the Illinois case in March was that only Cook County was told the ban was unconstitutional. However, checking the ruling, the Illinois judge emphasized the lawsuit was only against Cook County and having no statewide defendants rendered a statewide decision out of her jurisdiction.

    Since we have statewide defendants in Florida, this law firm is talking out of its rear.

    On the Wiki map page, a user keeps bringing up the Illinois case as evidence that the Kansas decision was only two counties. So I brought up the actual text of the Illinois ruling, and they've been quiet on the two counties nonsense since. So I've had this peculiarity on the mind, and this also raises the idea that had the Cook County lawsuit named the AG or someone similar, we'd have had statewide marriage in Illinois four months earlier.

  • 108. palerobber  |  December 24, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    the Greenberg Traurig memo is a joke. for example, they write:
    "Notably, it has been specifically held that an injunction against a single state official sued in his official capacity does not enjoin all state officials. Dow Jones & Co., Inc. v. Kaye, 256 F.3d 1251, 1255 n.3 (11th Cir. 2001) (“An injunction against a single state official sued in his official capacity does not enjoin all state officials from the prohibited conduct.”)."

    wow, great point. so all 67 county clerks don't have to "issue a marriage license to Stephen Schlairet and Ozzie Russ", only the one in Washington Co. does. bullet dodged!

    now that just leaves Hinkle's injunction of "the Secretary, the Surgeon General, and their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys–and others in active concert or participation with any of them".

  • 109. sfbob  |  December 24, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    Maybe counsel at Greenberg-Traurig (as has been noted widely, normally a very LGBT-friendly law firm) forgot to read the part that included "the Secretary, the Surgeon General, and their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys–and others in active concert or participation with any of them". Pretty sloppy, huh?

  • 110. palerobber  |  December 24, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    i think it couldn't be more obvious that the bigots who apparently run the Florida Association of Court Clerks told Greenberg Traurig exactly what advice they wanted to receive. this crap was made to order and slapped together with all the care it deserved.

  • 111. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 24, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Precisely. Do they not get there are SIX parts of the order? First three rule on the motions themselves, part 5 & 6 deal with specific actions regarding the plantifss that were wronged, and part 4 is the crux of it all: the marriage amendment ban and state statutes are unconstitutional, no longer apply as of 1/6/15, and EVERYONE in the state of Florida should comply regardless of opposite-sex or same-sex couple requests a marriage license.

    I'm seriously questioning the capacity of these law firms to represent our government offices. How the hell are those of us at EoT able to understand the order easily enough?

  • 112. VIRick  |  December 24, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Agreed. Totally.

    Greenberg, Traurig is being quite disinegniously dishonest in their so-called "representation" of what their viewing to be their clients' "best Interest," that is they're attempting to actively preserve the status quo for the most retrograde of county clerks in the Panhandle (otherwise known as South Alabama or the Redneck Riviera).

    If this firm were once supposedly LGBT-friendly, they certainly are not continuing in that fashion at the moment, and need a swift, major downgrade to their ratings. In fact, I would scratch them from the list, and instead, go with Jim Brenner's lawyer from Jacksonville, Bill Sheppard.

  • 113. VIRick  |  December 24, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Oooooh. Judge Hinkle is pissed. (Rule #1 in court litigation: Never piss off the presiding judge). We're back to the main case being called "Brenner v. Scott." It would appear that Judge Hinkle has re-instated both Governor Scott and AG Bondi as named defendants because in his "Order Setting Procedures on the Motion to Clarify," issued today, he states:

    "In these consolidated actions, the plaintiffs challenge provisions of the Florida Constitution and Florida Statutes on same-sex marriage. The defendants include the Secretary of the Florida Department of Management Services and the Florida Surgeon General, both in their official capacities. The plaintiffs also named as defendants the Governor and Attorney General of Florida, but I dismissed the claims against them as redundant, after the Secretary, acting through the Attorney General as the Secretary’s attorney, acknowledged that the Secretary was an appropriate defendant and that full relief could be granted against the Secretary, without the need for another state official. See Order of August 21, 2014, ECF No. 74, at 13 (confirming the acknowledgement)."

    But given the current obfuscation, and their obvious attempt to renege, both Scott and Bondi are back at the top of the list of state defendants. Apparently in her endless quest to appeal absolutely everything in sight, Bondi conveniently forgot about this earlier admission of hers.

  • 114. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 24, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    LOOOOOOOOOOVE the fact that he's essentially then amending his order and dropping paragraph 1 (I think it was) to drop the Gov. and AG as defendants. If they want to appeal, obstruct, and cause confusion, welcome back to the Federal District Court for Northern Florida… Judge Hinkle presiding. BOOM!

    Look forward to the State's reply on Monday to Judge Hinkle's order. Wonder who got the short stick in the AG's office to write that one on behalf of the FDMS and FSG?

  • 115. VIRick  |  December 24, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Yes, welcome back to the Federal District Court for Northern Florida, Judge Hinkle presiding.

    Today, Judge Hinkle in his "Order Setting Procedure on the Motion to Clarify" fairly well did all the clarifying needed, beginning right in the opening paragraph when he called out the AG for attempting to fabricate a lie and foist it off as truth. Indirectly, some of his ire may also have been directed toward the unnamed law firm of "memo" fame who attempted to build upon that fabrication.

    I can barely wait to read Bondi's inanely feeble response, come Monday. I hope she has a pleasant Holiday dreaming up something which actually anwsers the court, while still pacifying her tea-bagger base.

  • 116. brandall  |  December 24, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Perhaps Bondi will flee to Cuba before Monday?

  • 117. KahuBill  |  December 24, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    Is the law against fornication still on the books in Florida as it is in some states? If so maybe she should flee before some zealous cop arrests her.

  • 118. VIRick  |  December 24, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Unfortunately, but luckily enough for Bondi, according to States' Attorney for Palm Beach county, Dave Aronberg, "We do not normally prosecute unmarried heterosexual couples who co-habitate in violation of still current Florida law."

    Still, just for sweet, karma-induced pay-back, some over-zealous cop could nab her, and throw her in the slammer anyway.

  • 119. ebohlman  |  December 25, 2014 at 5:29 am

    Or someone could challenge her ability to hold office, since there's either some administrative provision or some precedent that effectively makes compliance with the anti-cohabitation law a term of employment for state employees; I know the hard religious right tried to use that provision to get Michael Schiavo fired from his state job after Terri's death (they weren't successful).

  • 120. VIRick  |  December 26, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Oooooh, challenging her ability to hold office on co-habitation grounds sounds like a serious job for one of Joe.My.God's major nut-case fools.

    Frankly, I'm surprised that the clowns who attempted to disrupt the Pareto hearing haven't already gone after her.

  • 121. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 24, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Loved the opening shot, as he went right to the core of it: the State of Florida lied to me when they agreed that the Secretary of the FDMS and Surgeon General and the it subordinates would properly cover all required officers of the state in enjoining those who needed to be.

  • 122. sfbob  |  December 24, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    That one's gonna leave a mark. 🙂

  • 123. SPQRobin  |  December 24, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    So, the relevant part is "The preliminary injunction binds the Secretary, the Surgeon General, and their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys — and others in active concert or participation with any of them — who receive actual notice of this injunction by personal service or otherwise."

    I'm thinking, wouldn't it have been better to explicitly state something like "This includes court clerks and county clerks [whose duties include issuing marriage licenses]". I feel like such a simple sentence would probably have prevented this whole chaos…

  • 124. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 24, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    I have to imagine Judge Hinkle decided that listing the head of each department or agency and then all of their subordinates (officiers, agents, employees) would cover the full spectrum without having to get specific by title. Now that I know that the county clerks report up through the Secretary of the Florida Dpeartment of Managment Services, I retract my earlier request to have the country clerks called out. Hinkle has it fully covered with this statement in paragraph 4 of the order.

  • 125. sfbob  |  December 24, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Are we next going to see the state claim that every single official who has the power to issue a marriage license or record a marriage or to recognize one for every single instance where marriage is pertinent (adoption, tax filing, spousal recusal, anti-nepotism statutes…oh, never mind the state already lost the adoption issue, but every other possible situation) must be named specifically or else the judgement doesn't apply to them?

  • 126. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 24, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Bob – I just read Hinkle's order (link I just posted). He's pissed. And he very well believes his original order is clear given the state agreed the right defendants were all named to cover all the bases… Now the state is doing a 180 and claiming otherwise. And now he will embarrass them by making them reply to his order by Monday.

    No question any longer after his order today. Marriage equality in terms of recognition and allowing marriage licenses to be provided is set for January 6, 2015.

  • 127. VIRick  |  December 24, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    Indeed! On all counts.

    Next lesson: Never attempt to ignore and dismiss a Federal District Court judge by falsely claiming in public that he can not overturn a state constitutional amendment by declaring it unconstitutional and that only a Federal Circuit Court, the US Supreme Court and/or the Florida Supreme Court holds that power.

  • 128. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 24, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    Where did malarkey even come from? Who smoked what and came up with that? It's absolitely asinine. Lesson to be learned by the State of Florida indeed: Federal District courts rule your ass if you defy the US Constitution.

  • 129. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 24, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Here's the full order if anyone hasn't seen it elsewhere (apologize if this was provided somewhere already):

    For crying out loud… Judge Hinkle has all but clarified his original order in this order. He chastises the AG and Secretary for agreeing the AG can be dropped as having the Secretary named properly covers all needed officiers. Then basically explains that Section 4 of the order binds EVERYONE from enforcing the marriage bans. Then just for shits and giggles, he now is requiring the state to somehow come back and explain how they believe it could possibly be any different! Oh this is awesome. What a total smack down of the State. Put your tails between your collective legs and walk away Florida state officials… You're done!

  • 130. brandall  |  December 24, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    I can't believe we're been discussing this all morning through the early afternoon and none of us read the entire order until you just pointed it out. I assumed Raga posted the entire order since there was no link. I don't believe I've read this terse a document in any of the ME cases.

    However, it is a bit odd that the case was renamed again back to Brenner v. Scott without any mention other than his acknowledgement he has removed Bondi and Scott in a previous order.

    And here's another gem from the order:

    "By its terms, paragraph 4 binds two Florida officials with statewide jurisdiction—the Secretary of the Department of Management Services and the Surgeon General—and “their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys—and others in active concert or participation with any of them—who receive actual notice of [the] injunction by personal service or otherwise.” ECF No. 74 at 31. The Attorney General of Florida is an attorney of record for the Secretary and Surgeon General in these actions."

    Am I reading between the lines or is Hinkle saying: Bondi is your attorney…not Greenberg, Traurig…so I expect to see you sign Monday's responses to my orders stating the states position (and that of DMS and the SG) and not some threatening outside "advice" to the state clerks.

  • 131. Raga  |  December 24, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    In haste, I scrolled right down to the "order" part of the document and posted it. I didn't read the rest of it in detail until now. I agree that he seems to have laid out all the logical links and just waiting for a response from the parties so that he can go ahead and connect them and clarify that paragraph 4 binds all clerks. I guess he wants the state officials to admit that they do have direct control over issuance of licenses by clerks.

  • 132. brandall  |  December 24, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    Bingo. Your last sentence hits the nail on the head. I was trying to figure out the game going on between the "outside advice" to the clerks, the county clerk named in the lawsuit and Bondi. DMS and the SG are trying to dodge the entire issue and put the clerks on the spot. The target needs to be the AG, DMS and the SG. Period. VERY helpful, thank you and have a delightful holiday dinner and breakfast.

  • 133. VIRick  |  December 24, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    Precisely. Bondi can not exempt herself. She's the attorney of record for both the FSDMS abd the FSG, all of whom have statewide authority over all the underlings, agents, servants, etc., in state employ, including all county court clerks. Come Monday, all three of them will have to admit in court before Judge Hinkle that they do, indeed, have such direct control,– and that the county court clerks answer directly to THEM, not to some memo-issuer from Greenberg, Traurig.

  • 134. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 24, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    I'm so in love (figuratively) with Judge Hinkle and his order. I keep reading it as I am giddy and smiling more each time. He just puts the state to shame on their avoidance of their duties, and the ignorance they claim. For them to think that this whole civil action would result in a federal district judge ONLY ordering one county clerk to issue one marriage license (and the Surgeon General a proper death certificate) is the most ludicrous thing I can imagine. The federal judge ruled a state constitutional amendment invalid, along with all associated state statutes. Who could logically and sanely believe it would not apply to all county clerks and officiers of the state. I'm baffled to think the state of Florida really thought otherwise, and was simply a delay tactic. But that law firm representing the association of county clerks – wow, what a piece of work. Find new counsel, please!

  • 135. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 25, 2014 at 11:18 am

    I went back to read the August 21st order from Judge Hinkle. The man definitely has all his bases covered. In Section III on The Proper Defendants, he states:

    "Whether the Governor and Attorney General are proper defendants is less clear. It also makes no difference. As the state defendants acknowledge, an order directed to the Secretary—or, for matters relating to the death certificate, to the Surgeon General—will be sufficient to provide complete relief. The Eleventh Circuit has held that a district court may dismiss claims against redundant official- capacity defendants … The prudent course here is to dismiss the Governor and Attorney General on this basis."

    Then right after adds this nugget: "If it turns out later that complete relief cannot be afforded against the Secretary and Surgeon General, any necessary and proper additional defendant can be added." BINGO! JENGA! BOOOM!

    Welcome back Madam Attoney General if you so decide in your brief due on Monday that for some reason the clerks aren't required to provide a license or you believe YOUR States' Attorneys will file charges against any for doing so. I seriously can NOT wait to read this brief on Monday. I wonder if the Plantiffs will add a reply that they are also afforded by Judge Hinkle to just let him know that he is already spot on and nothing more is needed.

  • 136. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 24, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Another simple statement of fact in the order: "From January 6 forward, compliance with the injunction will be mandatory."

  • 137. Steve84  |  December 24, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    It's judge-speak for "WTF are you idiots thinking?!"

  • 138. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 24, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    Seriously… Only here in Florida could the government screw up and not understand a judicial order from a federal judge. Can't count ballots and hanging chads, and now can't read very well. And we get four more years of this crack Executive team running the state.

  • 139. Raga  |  December 24, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    Yeah. I wouldn't be surprised if they ask for further clarification regarding today's order. "What exactly did you mean by asking us to file a response by December 29?"

  • 140. VIRick  |  December 24, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    Hey Ryan! Now you know one of the reasons why I departed.

    Except in this case, it would appear that the "non-understanding" was deliberate and was generated by Bondi herself. I'm glad Judge Hinkle brought her up short, and rightfully so, too, by slapping both the Governor's and the AG's names back onto the lawsuit as named statewide defendants. That act alone adds instant clarity.

    The newly-elected county court clerk for Washington County may have indeed been clueless as to what to do, but in this instance her apparent cluelessness actually worked in our favor, while telling us more than we need to know about the electoral process along the Redneck Riviera.

    As for "WTF are you idiots thinking?" That was the essence of today's order, even if it had to be couched in better language. Still, better language or not, Judge Hinkle couldn't quite conceal the fact that he was pissed off. And I'm sorry, but one never wins cases by pissing off the presiding judge. Wait until her appeal is finally heard by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (months from now, as it will be a completely futile exercise once the stay expires, but she'll still plod on with it), when they review the case on the merits, and encounter this deliberate deceit in the record. Plus, once all is said and done, the state of Florida will get stuck paying for all of the plaintiffs' legal expenses, a figure which is going to run into the multi-millions of dollars. Guaranteed.

  • 141. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 25, 2014 at 6:29 am

    Yes that makes me reconsider my longevity in this state (one of the reasons, other being that I live 2 miles from the Atlantic Ocean in Fort Lauderdale and not sure how many more decades my property will be above water given the climate changes).

    Given that a favorable opinion in both the 11CA and SCOTUS seem very likely (stays were denied, which is one part of the four prong approach), my main joy out of this is going to be reading the SCATHING order by Judge Hinkle to the state of Florida – chastising the hell out of them for not understanding a simple statement rendering the amendment and statute unconstitutional and that it therefore has affect statewide. If that was simo,y a delay tactic on their part, it's come out more as stupidity and ignorance on their part than anything. Merry Christmas to equality from them!

  • 142. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 25, 2014 at 7:01 am

    Rick – I have to plead legal ignorance in my question to you regarding the statement you made above. In Judge Hinkle's order, by using the original name of the case (which is how his August 21st order is as well), is that itself implying that the Governor and AG are added back in as defendants? Again my ignorance here and apologize if it is obvious to you and others, but I would have thought in order to reinstate both of them as named defendants, he would need to strike part 1 of his August 21st order whereby he dismissed them as defendants on the basis that they all agreed that the Secretary of the FDMS and AG were the proper defendants to cover all relief if granted. So I guess I am curious if you know of anything other than Judge Hinkle using the original case name in these recent orders that adds the Gov. and AG back in officially (the AG is back in by way of being the Attorney of record for the Secretary and AG)?

    A very merry Christmas to you Rick! I hope you are enjoying the holiday in the Virgin Islands or wherever you may be with family and friends.

  • 143. SPQRobin  |  December 25, 2014 at 7:38 am

    I think the original name is used because this is a motion on the original case at district court level (i.e. not of the appeal, which is Brenner v. Armstrong, and not of the applications for stay).
    See also the motion to clarify as submitted by the clerk:… – it also includes the original case name, so Judge Hinkle didn't change anything here afaics.

  • 144. brandall  |  December 25, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Your explanation makes complete sense. TX.

  • 145. VIRick  |  December 25, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    "the AG is back in by way of being the Attorney of record for the Secretary and AG"

    Yes, except the way I read Judge Hinkle's order, Bondi, as attorney of record for both the Secretary and the Surgeon-General, could not in any form ever remove herself from the case. She was, is, and will continue to be a party to the case. Never mind that she attempted to pretend that when the US Supreme Court denied her stay extension, they, the US Supreme Court, dumped the whole shit onto the hapless, newly-elected county court clerk for Washington County, and onto them alone, and that it was now that poor soul's problem.

    Oh wait! This is the rest of the answer, and the real crux of it, from SPQRobin, below:

    "this is a motion on the original case at district court level (i.e. not of the appeal, which is Brenner v. Armstrong, and not of the applications for stay)."

    So, yes, Bondi, once again, welcome back to the Federal District Court for Northern Florida, Judge Hinkle presiding.

  • 146. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 25, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Agree, as it clearly calls out in the August 21st opinion. And he said wuite unequivocally that he will name them as defendants again if the state believe relief can not be given by the currently named defendants.

    I'd love nothing more than to require her to appear before him in his courtroom. And when they say, "All rise" with Judge Hinkle presiding, her stand. Then have to verbally answer his questions. But alas, she won't lift a finger on writing this reply and I will just wait for his scathing order on this motion.

  • 147. VIRick  |  December 25, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    On 19 December 2014, in her apparent concession speech, Florida AG Pam Bondi responded:

    “Tonight, the United States Supreme Court denied the State’s request for a stay in the case before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Regardless of the ruling, it has always been our goal to have uniformity throughout Florida until the final resolution of the numerous challenges to the voter-approved constitutional amendment on marriage. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court has now spoken, and the stay will end on 5 January 2015.”

    On first reading, one is given the consoling impression that she was gracefully admitting that the stay will be ending on 5 January, and that it will do so uniformly throughout the state, thus preserving the goal of statewide uniformity by bringing marriage equality to the entire state (the legally-correct reading).

    However, hinging everything on the word, "nonetheless," that statement was quickly spun into blaming the Supreme Court for upending statewide uniformity by their obstinate refusal to extend the stay, thereby, through their fault, allowing marriage equality to go forward in Washington county, and in Washington county alone (the teabagger reading).

  • 148. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 25, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    To be honest, when I read that statement on December 19th, I figured we wouldn't even be entertaining all of this bullshit about does a federal district judge have authority to bind state officials, does it apply to just one county clerk, would a clerk be faced with being arrested and fines by proving a marriage license to a same-sex couple, etc.

    Maybe she didn't either…but now she must provide a response as to why none of that is true and that all officers of the state that pertain to the act of registering marriage licenses and death certificates are enjoined from enforcing the unconstitutional provisions of the Florida Constitution and state statutes. Well AG Bondi, you left this decentralized, now you will have to respond.

  • 149. sfbob  |  December 25, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Having read the statement as well I figured this:

    "…it has always been our goal to have uniformity throughout Florida until the final resolution of the numerous challenges to the voter-approved constitutional amendment on marriage…"

    to be some sort of threat to interpret the ruling and the denial of the stay in the narrowest possible way, though to any rational person it clearly applies to Florida's ban no matter where it's being enforced, who it's being enforced by or under what circumstances.

    I suspect Judge Hinkle feels the same way. I'm hoping he reads Bondi and her….um…acolytes…the riot act next week.

  • 150. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 25, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    See how innocent and pure I am (ha ha…so not the case), I assumed she meant its over as we always wanted uniformity and with the stay ending on 1/5/15, the state and all its officers would abide by the injunction.

    Alas, she let it spin, the new county clerk in Washington tossed up the ball, and gave Hinkle a chance to swing. Can't wait to read the reply to the order by Bondi and Hinkle's disposition of the motion to clarify.

  • 151. VIRick  |  December 25, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    On the night of 19 December, I stupidly thought ther same. OMG! She finally gave it up! I was in shocked disbelief.

    And then the spin began.

  • 152. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  December 25, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Man oh man, I cannot wait to read the reply from Bondi and Hinkle's order of clarification. She EASILY could have handled this all administratively between herself and the Secretary. But nope, now they get a welcome back to the Federal District Court for Northern Florida, Judge Hinkle presiding. (Man I wish he read this blog or someone shows it to him after this is all said and done!).

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