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READ IT HERE: Mobile Co. probate judge asks federal judge to dismiss potential class-action challenge to Alabama marriage ban

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

Alabama state sealMobile County’s probate judge, Don Davis, has filed a motion to dismiss in Strawser, the potential class-action challenge to Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban. The ruling on whether the case will proceed as a class-action across all Alabama counties is still pending.

Davis wants the case dismissed in its entirety, arguing, among other things, that the Supreme Court will resolve the issue in late June anyway.

You can read the brief here:

1:14-cv-00424 #103 by Equality Case Files

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. Silvershrimp0  |  April 8, 2015 at 10:04 am

    The Supreme Court has already resolved the immediate issue in Alabama by refusing to stay the district court ruling.

  • 2. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  April 8, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Tell that to Alabama

  • 3. scream4ever  |  April 8, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    That's exactly what's being done with this suit.

  • 4. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  April 8, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    I'm with you

  • 5. 1grod  |  April 9, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    Scream and Wolf: As observed further on in this thread regarding Arkansas, the politicization of the Courts does an ongoing disservice to the judicial system itself. Re: Moore vs Granade – at best the next step, if taken,leads to a dead-end no matter the outcome. UNLESS Judge Granade issues only a brief stay, and on appeal, the 11th Circuit agrees. Every reader knows that either way, Judge Granade's decision will be appealed to the 11th Circuit Appeals Court. That court has already placed on hold a determination of merits of Searcy I and Strawser until after the US Supreme Court rules on Obergefell. Unlike Kansas – where licenses are being issued, same gender marriages celebrated but neither such in-state or out-of-state marriages are recognized, Alabama does recognize those celebrated in and out of state up to March 4. Davis asks for Oral Argument. Earlier AG Strange had asked for oral argument.
    If granted, Baldwin Co, being named the proxy county for the others 65, their probate judge Tim Russell would be called upon. We should all write Judge Russell in Bay Minette office to suggest that Scottie would be an informed and well-regarded resource.

  • 6. 1grod  |  April 13, 2015 at 11:00 am

    Scottie's Probate Judge Tim Russell [from Baldwin Co AL- as 'the putative class representative' of the other 65 judges] has made his brief 18 page submission to Judge C Granade's Court in Strawser v Strange. The submission does not appear to bear any influence of our man from that county in its call for dismissal.

  • 7. 1grod  |  April 13, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    Reasoning of AL Probate Judge Tim Russell and prior observation of similar arguments of Don Davis made below by Elihu Bystander:
    1) Judge Russell and all other probate judges in the state of Alabama are subject to a binding order issued by the Alabama Supreme Court enjoining them from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
    Same as Judge Don Davis Argument # H and # C
    A. The Anti-Injunction Act bars any relief.
    B. This Court does not have the jurisdiction to overrule the Alabama Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
    Elihu’s observation on H & C: It most certainly do not. The USDC & ALSC have parallel jurisdiction with neither court binding on the other. … Most certainly not bared from injunctive relief.

    2) Judge Russell is entitled to absolute quasi-judicial immunity.
    Same as Judge Davis’ Argument E
    Elihu’s observation on E applies here: Not in your administrative duties.

    3) Plaintiffs do not have standing to bring these claims against Judge Russell
    Same as Judge Davis’s Argument # B
    Elihu’s observation on # B below applies here: They most certainly do have standing and have shown concrete injuries that are redressable

    4) The principles of comity and federalism militate in favor of the dismissal of the claims against Judge Russell or, in the alternative, for a stay of further proceedings.
    Elihu did not comment as this is an argument that Judge Davis did not directly make it but both want a stay if not an outright dismissal: Russell says – please do not force me [and the others] to have to choose which order to obey. Just stay all action to the US Supremes rules.

  • 8. 1grod  |  April 14, 2015 at 5:38 am

    Putting the class action suit in perspective:

  • 9. RnL2008  |  April 8, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    Exactly…..Davis is the one who caused the mess in the first place when he went to the ASSC and now he wants to dismiss this lawsuit saying SCOTUS will resolve this issue in June…….screw him. Moore has already stated he plans to fight the ruling from SCOTUS, so I say keep these lawsuits pending until the State complies with the ruling and drops their pathetic attempt to act more Superior than the United States Supreme Court.

  • 10. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  April 8, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    You've got it, Rose

  • 11. RnL2008  |  April 8, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Frankly, I'm tired of the games these politicians are playing with these stupid proposals like the one Cruz is looking at proposing to Congress about stripping power away from SCOTUS if they rule in favor of Marriage Equality…….at what point in time has it EVER been okay to threaten our top Court in this Country? Don't they think that the American people are tired of their pathetic antics? I mean if Ted Cruz or Rand Paul seriously plan are winning the white house in 2016…..don't they know that these pathetic anti-gay stuff is going to push those individuals who are on the fence post in our direction? They simply DON'T get that this Country and the laws are here to PROTECT all American Citizens, NOT just ones who happen to be Evangelistic Fundamentalist!!!

  • 12. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  April 8, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    I think you're giving them too much credit. It doesn't take intelligence to be in office.

  • 13. RnL2008  |  April 8, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    That may be true…….but those two clowns still scare me. Folks who have been upset about President Obama's Citizenship for the last 8 years, seem to ignore Cruz's citizenship……either both are Citizens and able to hold the office or Cruz isn't and will be forced out, but one is now really a moot point.

    I think what Paul and Cruz have shown so far clearly makes them unfit to hold the office of the President……hell, my 11 year old grandchild can do better than those two clowns.

  • 14. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  April 8, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    I know, love. They scare me too. We need a political revolution. We need a new system.

  • 15. RnL2008  |  April 8, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    I have stated that many times……until we get rid of this two-party system, there will be no real change in this Country……and it will be really hard to get rid of the problem because folks bought into the Tea Baggers, who are out to do one thing…..tear this Country apart to rebuild it in their view…..NOT happening as long as I'm alive and others who believe like me.

  • 16. OrvilleKlutz  |  April 9, 2015 at 9:14 am

    Let;s flush 'em down the hopper and get some intelligence back into our congress! :>)

  • 17. hopalongcassidy  |  April 9, 2015 at 10:39 am

    As long as our political parties are wholly owned subsidiaries of multinational corporations, that ain't in the cards…sadly.

  • 18. ReadLearn  |  April 8, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    They don't get it because they have taken over Congress. They will not win the Presidency, but the fact that they control both houses is worrisome indeed.

  • 19. F_Young  |  April 8, 2015 at 11:06 am

    The Coming Gay-Marriage Ruling
    By Richard Socarides

    During a confidential selection process that included a “moot-off” (essentially Supreme Court auditions), lawyers for all of the plaintiffs agreed on Mary Bonauto—who argued the first successful gay-marriage case, in Massachusetts, in 2003, and who has been one of the leading advocates for the cause since its inception—as their main advocate before the high court.
    The U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., will argue, on behalf of the government, for a fifty-state marriage rule. This is a broader position than the government took two years ago, when it argued against DOMA but for a more incremental approach to the marriage question itself.
    With respect to the outcome, Olson says, “I wish, like Loving” (meaning Loving v. Virginia, in which the court struck laws against interracial marriage), “it could be 9-0, but I suspect that is not in the cards. I would hope that it would be more than 5-4, as this means so much to this country and our values.”

    Sorry about "Gay-Marriage," but that's what he wrote.

  • 20. OrvilleKlutz  |  April 9, 2015 at 9:17 am

    I am hoping it will be at least 7-2, I can hear unjustices Scab-lia and Thom-ass screaming as they dig their heels in and bury themselves. :>)

  • 21. wes228  |  April 9, 2015 at 9:25 am

    No way in hell we get Alito, and I also think Roberts is a longshot.

  • 22. RnL2008  |  April 9, 2015 at 9:58 am

    We may get Alito and Roberts, but I do agree with you that it is possible, but not necessarily probable.

  • 23. ianbirmingham  |  April 9, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Let's see how the oral argument goes. Roberts is at least a 50% possibility – I think 60 or 70% is more likely. Alito is 30 to 40% now. Oral argument could very easily move both of these two in any direction. Not shocking if Roberts comes out on our side (given his confirmation testimony about Loving v. Virginia). Alito would be a surprise but not a big surprise. If Scalia or Thomas go our way, that would most definitely be a big, shocking, stunning surprise.

  • 24. RnL2008  |  April 9, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    I agree if Scalia and or Thomas agree with us, you might hear a loud thud when we all fall to the floor…….lol!!!

  • 25. wes228  |  April 9, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Roberts is a 5% possibility, Alito is a 1% possibility, and Scalia and Thomas's possibilities must be written in scientific notation. (1.3×10 to the negative millionth power percent).

  • 26. JayJonson  |  April 11, 2015 at 7:14 am

    IT is very unlikely that the ruling will be anything than 5-4. It is very unlikely that the arguments on cases as well known as these will affect the votes of any member of the Court. There is a slim possibility that the arguments put forward by the states will be so preposterous that Roberts might be embarrassed to be associated with them.

    Remember that the Houston DA who argued the state's position in Lawrence was unquestionably incompetent and members of the audience had to stifle themselves from laughing aloud when he was unable to answer very basic questions–yet the vote was 5-4 on reversing Hardwick (though 6-3 in striking down the Texas law).

    I think the ruling will be 5-4, but that Roberts will write a very mealy-mouthed dissent, joined by Alito, saying in effect that the public now is in favor of same-sex marriage and therefore a nation-wide ruling from the Court is unnecessary and would only disrupt the democratic process. Scalia will write an incendiary dissent that will be joined by Thomas.

  • 27. StraightDave  |  April 11, 2015 at 8:33 am

    Thomas will take the trouble to dissent separately to declare the bans "uncommonly silly", as he did in Lawrence, but vote to uphold them anyway. Not his problem.

  • 28. ebohlman  |  April 11, 2015 at 8:41 am

    Yep, that's what I expect: he'll claim that the bans are stupid but that federalism requires letting the states pass and enforce stupid laws.

  • 29. JayJonson  |  April 11, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    No. Thomas is not going to declare the bans silly. When he said that about Lawrence, he was referring to a law that was not widely enforced and that was more symbolic than anything else. It was to his advantage to dismiss the law as not very important. That made him seem sophisticated (to say nothing of less hypocritical, considering the revelations by Anita Hill regarding his love of porn.)

    The marriage bans are different. He cares about "state's rights" and "religious values." His wife's participation in the religious right movement will also no doubt influence him. He will happily sign on to Scalia's doomsday dissent.

  • 30. Zack12  |  April 11, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    I agree with you.
    I think the four RATS know they won't change Kennedy's mind, hence why Alito and Roberts haven't join Thomas and Scalia in wanting stays but that still doesn't mean they're on our side.

  • 31. F_Young  |  April 8, 2015 at 11:43 am

    Advocates: Put anti-gay businesses off-limits to troops

    Military installation commanders should be encouraged to place off-limits establishments that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, an advocacy group has told Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

    In an April 7 letter to Carter, Matt Thorn, OutServe-SLDN interim executive director, cited the controversy in Indiana over that state's recently enacted Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a law that has drawn varying interpretations.

    …..On Wednesday, OutServe-SLDN will launch its "United We Are Strong" campaign. The effort aims to unite LGBT troops and veterans with the civilian LGBT community to repeal the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and advocate for anti-discrimination legislation in the 30 states that still do not offer legal protections for LGBT individuals, Thorn said.

  • 32. RnL2008  |  April 8, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    I like that idea and it happens all of the time with the Military that they put off-limits for the safety of the Service members.

  • 33. DeadHead  |  April 8, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Salesforce Posts ‘Thank You Indiana’ Video Following Change To Religious Freedom Law

  • 34. FredDorner  |  April 8, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    That's very well done.

  • 35. F_Young  |  April 8, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Houston: Anti-gay activist's petition drive falls short on HERO ordinance

    An anti-gay activist's petition drive to place a referendum on the November ballot in Houston has failed, the mayor announced, because he didn't submit enough signatures of qualified voters.

    The mayor's declaration came hours after Dave Wilson wheeled a cart carrying boxes of petitions into the city secretary's office calling for a November vote on gender identity, essentially putting on the ballot the question of which bathrooms are used by transgendered Houstonians.

    …..The Wilson petitions are just the latest twist in the ongoing saga of Houston's equal rights ordinance, a sweeping anti-discrimination measure that triggered a passionate debate about the rights of gay and transgendered citizens.

    …..A judge who's now reviewing the matter is expected to rule on whether the petition drive passed or failed, so the issue may or may not eventually appear on the ballot.

  • 36. mariothinks  |  April 8, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Tomorrow will be exactly 90 days, 3 months, since the 5th Circuit heard oral arguments. The longest decision after oral arguments was DeBoer, which took 92 days, from August 6th to November 6th. The 5th Circuit heard oral arguments on January 9th. If it follows tradition, we should get a decision tomorrow. If not, the 5th Circuit decision will be the longest we've waited for yet (unless it comes on Friday, Day 91).

  • 37. ReadLearn  |  April 8, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    I am going to bet that they do not issue a ruling before SCOTUS rules. If they do, Louisiana, TX and MS will follow Alabama's lead, and play the same games.

  • 38. RnL2008  |  April 8, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    With any luck, we hopefully will regain control of the Senate, but I have little hope of regaining the House until we can….any President is not going to get much accomplished. Boehner is slowly losing his control……but until the American people see those trolls for who they are……it's going to be a political struggle.

  • 39. scream4ever  |  April 8, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    I still think the 5th Circuit will rule in our favor soon. Had the wanted to stay the proceedings they would've announced it by now since both parties requested that they issue a ruling. The three states will be quite pressed for time to pull any of the stunts that Alabama has pulled should they attempt to.

  • 40. mariothinks  |  April 9, 2015 at 2:31 am

    I totally agree!

  • 41. F_Young  |  April 8, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Griffin: Indiana fight opens door to wider LGBT rights

    …right now, in dozens of states from North Carolina to Texas, virulently anti-LGBT legislation still has a real and dangerous chance of passage — including heinous legislation that seeks to prevent transgender people from using the bathroom that conforms to their gender identity and bills that would strip the salaries of clerks who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

    But this historic week made one thing clear: There is a new American coalition for equality emerging. It crosses party lines. It touches all sectors of society — from businesses, to faith leaders, to elected officials. It is fundamentally reshaping our national politics. And no state legislator peddling a two-bit piece of bigoted legislation is going to fly in this country anymore, regardless of who your state voted for in the last presidential election.

    …..Most of all, the message was clear to every politician who will soon be jetting from Iowa to New Hampshire and claiming the moral authority to lead this country: Throw out the old playbook, because you are talking to a new America.

    In the coming months, members of Congress will introduce a historic federal LGBT non-discrimination bill — a piece of legislation that will finally guarantee that LGBT people are treated equally within the full sweep of federal non-discrimination protections. The name of the legislation has not yet been announced, but this week it earned its nickname — the Pence Act.

    Unfortunately, I think Griffin is too optimistic about the Republican primaries and about a federal anti-discrimination bill. Frankly, I see such a bill at this time mainly as a Democratic wedge strategy to steer younger voters away from the Republican party. It could work well as a wedge, but it cannot pass with the party standings being what they are.

  • 42. scream4ever  |  April 8, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    What we need to do in as many states as we can is put on the ballot anti-discrimination initiatives for 2016. If polls are any indication they will easily pass (with the benefit of Presidential election year turnout aiding us) and provide an additional boost for ENDA.

  • 43. ianbirmingham  |  April 8, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    The Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 (ENDA) already passed the Senate (64-32) and it has 206 co-sponsors in the House. 218 votes would be a majority of the House. Of the co-sponsors, 198 are Democrats, although presently there are only 188 Democrats in the House (some lost their seats in 2014). The bill (HR 1755) has only eight (8) Republican co-sponsors in the House, where presently 245 Republicans hold seats. The most recent attempt to bring the bill up for a vote ended in failure in the House Rules Committee on December 3rd, 2014.

  • 44. Mike_Baltimore  |  April 8, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    Since we are in a new Congress (officially [per the Constitution] as of January 3, 2015), the bill must be reintroduced and pass both the Senate and House. Thus any bills introduced prior to that January date, unless passed by both chambers of Congress AND signed into law by the President, are null and void, and must go through the entire process again.

    Unless forced, I don't think Senator McConnell is in any rush to schedule such a vote in the Senate, and since the GOTP also controls the House of Representatives and Congressman Bo-Ner is the head honcho there, the GOTP and Bo-ner are not in any hurry to schedule a vote on any form of ENDA.

  • 45. VIRick  |  April 9, 2015 at 11:56 am

    Precisely, Mike. Unfortunately, you are correct on all points, including the spelling of Bo-ner. LOL.

  • 46. JayJonson  |  April 11, 2015 at 7:20 am

    The other problem is that the version that was passed by the Senate has too many religious-exception carve-outs. HRC and other organizations have withdrawn support for it.

  • 47. guitaristbl  |  April 8, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Off topic but if numbers do matter it's 45 amicus briefs filed in favour of the bans (till now) v. 77 amicus briefs filed in opposition to the bans before SCOTUS. Well we have won that numerical battle at least.

  • 48. scream4ever  |  April 8, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    Our side actually had 72 (5 of the briefs were in support of neither party) and by the latest count the defendants had 56 briefs according to this source:

  • 49. guitaristbl  |  April 8, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    I was looking at the scotusblog page of the case where they had updated up to the Brief from Jason Feliciano.

    Well some of the opposition briefs take no position on one or both of the questions presented, arguing for example only the level of scrutiny. Still a victory on that aspect, since I suppose no more briefs will appear, will they ?

  • 50. hopalongcassidy  |  April 8, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    I can't help cynically wondering how many of those actually get read, much less scrutinized by the just-isses…

  • 51. sfbob  |  April 8, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    I presume they give them to their staff and ask to be notified if a brief contains any interesting material. They do get read; we've seen examples of Court decisions referencing amicus briefs before.

  • 52. guitaristbl  |  April 8, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    It depends on the justice I think.

    Sotomayor for example likes to provide material from briefs in her opinions. Scalia on the other hand thinks he knows better than any person signing on a brief and very rarely gives them any credit.

  • 53. F_Young  |  April 8, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Off-topic: A single dose of a new HIV drug weakens the virus for 28 days
    The antibody-based drug might reduce people's need for antiretrovirals

    A new class of HIV drugs might be around the corner. By injecting people infected with HIV with a single dose of antibodies, researchers were able to reduce the presence of the virus in the blood of study participants — for 28 days. This unprecedented result means that it might one day be possible to reduce the frequency of HIV drug intake, or suppress the virus for extended periods of time, following the use of antiretrovirals.

    …..although the drug reduced the presence of the virus in the participant’s blood, it wasn’t able to completely suppress the virus — an effect that many people experience when they take antiretrovirals on a daily basis. "There, virus was still detectable, but it was lower than the amount seen [prior to the treatment]," Klein says.

    …..Overall, the antibody treatment is promising — but that’s really all it is. The study is very small, so the drug will need to be tested on a lot more people, and for far longer periods of time, before scientists can draw any solid conclusions about its effectiveness..

  • 54. Elihu_Bystander  |  April 8, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Every talking point in Judge Davis' amended complaint letters A – F are outright prevarications.
    They are literally insulting to the District Court and Judge Granade.

    A. The Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction due to the plaintiffs’ failure to raise a substantial federal question;

    Are you fricking real?

    B. The plaintiffs lack standing because they have not shown any injury in fact and their alleged injuries are not redressable by Judge Davis;

    They most certainly do have standing and have shown concrete injuries

    C. The claims for injunctive relief are barred by judicial immunity and the express limitations of 42 U.S.C. §1983 and §1988;

    They most certainly are not.

    D. The plaintiffs’ allegations fail to show violation of a clearly-established constitutional or statutory right and are therefore barred by qualified immunity;

    The laws are in violation of the XIV Amendment of the U. S. Constitution.

    E. Judge Davis is entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity as an officer performing a state function;

    Not in your administrative duties.

    F. The plaintiffs’ claim for declaratory relief is moot;

    Irreparable harm is occurring daily!

    G. The plaintiffs seek an impermissibly vague and overly broad injunction; and

    The injunction is very precise: "Do your fricking job."

    H. This Court’s jurisdiction is precluded by the Alabama Supreme Court’s adjudication that the laws on same-sex marriage are constitutional.

    It most certainly is not. The USDC & ALSC have parallel jurisdiction with neither court binding on the other.

  • 55. davepCA  |  April 8, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    It's just throwing poop at the wall to see if anything will stick. Another clear indication that they have no argument and are grasping at straws – and missing them.

  • 56. RnL2008  |  April 8, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    I totally agree with ya……the anti-gay folks know they are losing and so everything they are doing now just shows SCOTUS the animus we have been claiming all along. Theses tactics will to more harm to them than to us I believe.

  • 57. sfbob  |  April 8, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    Point "A" of course is simply a reference to Baker. As if anyone with any credibility takes that seriously.

    Other than that well, you're right. There are just so many different ways to slam the arguments in Davis' brief I didn't even know where to start. "No" seems like the simplest response. And I have little doubt that Judge Granade will hand Davis' posterior to him once again.

  • 58. jm64tx  |  April 8, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    "The USDC & ALSC have parallel jurisdiction with neither court binding on the other."

    Not quite. The federal district court's jurisdiction is controlled by 28 USC 1257, which states:

    "Final judgments or decrees rendered by the highest court of a State in which a decision could be had, may be reviewed by the Supreme Court by writ of certiorari… where the validity of a statute of any State is drawn in question on the ground of its being repugnant to the Constitution, treaties, or laws of the United States…"

    So the federal district court does not have review authority over the Alabama Supreme Court's orders to determine if it was correct when it ruled the Alabama statutes constitutional.

    So the federal district court and the State Supreme Court do not have parallel jurisdiction … The Alabama Supreme Court actually has more jurisdiction right now than the federal district court.

  • 59. wes228  |  April 9, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    You are totally misinterpreting that law. It says that rulings of a state supreme court which rule on a question of federal law, may be reviewed by the United States Supreme Court.

    It does not say that District Court rulings can be reviewed by a state supreme court.

  • 60. jm64tx  |  April 11, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    OK and I didnt say they could. I said that the Alabama Supreme Court, having made a ruling on a federal constitutional question, is not subject to review by the federal district court, because 28 USC 1257 says only SCOTUS can review the rulings of a State Supreme Court.

  • 61. 1grod  |  April 11, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    jm: But you did say that AL Supreme Court has more jurisdiction right now. While I would wish it otherwise, your statement seems confident. Here my thinking why it could be otherwise. AL Supreme did not have a specific case before it when it ruled. The federal court had two before it. Searcy 1 and Strawser. Searcy 1 is on appeal on its merits to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal. Strawser (as amended) is up for a final determination on merits. However, on the matter of a stay, both the Appeals Court and the US Supreme Court have ruled in favour of lifting the district court's self imposed stay in Searcy 1. JM – I appreciate that you know this. But in Strawser, there is a real possibility/probability that Judge Granade will grant the March 6 motions of the plaintiffs, represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights: (1) leave to file second amended complaint adding additional parties and plaintiff and defendant classes; (2) certification of plaintiff and defendant classes; and (3) preliminary injunction. Wes, in replying to you, says the State Supreme Court ruling may be reviewed by the US Supreme Court. What is the process for that to happen? Can AG Strange ask the US Supremes for this review, can the State Supremes themselves? Has anyone petitioned to do so? Can the US Supremes stay a State's Supreme's writ of mandamus decision pending the grant of certiorari? How likely given April 28 is 16 days away?

  • 62. Iggy_Schiller  |  April 8, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Off topic – Brazilian Justice allows gay couple to adopt

    Public prosecutors from the state of Parana tried to stop a same-sex couple from adopting two kids, arguing that Brazil's Constitution defines family as a union of a man and a woman. They were unsuccessful in the lower courts and asked Justice Carmen Lucia to reverse the decisions, but she reminded them that the Supreme Federal Court had already recognized same-sex unions as families in 2011.

    These are excellent news because our Congress is dominated by the religious-right since last year's elections. The president of our "House of Representatives" is so lunatic that he wants to create the "Straight Pride Day", criminalize heterophobia (whatever this is) and approve a law to prohibit gay couples to adopt. At least for now we have the Judiciary to stop these people.

  • 63. KahuBill  |  April 8, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    Joe.My.God reports 8th Circuit will hear same sex marriage case on May 12th, Panel judges Wollman (Reagan appointee and 80 years old), Smith (W appointee) and Benton (W appointee and Yale Law classmate of Alito.

  • 64. F_Young  |  April 8, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    Off-topic: France is sending a gay ambassador to Vatican City

    France’s Council of Ministers approved openly gay Laurent Stefanini to take over the role on 5 January but the position has been vacant since the departure of his predecessor Bruno Jouvert on 1 March leading many to wonder whether the hold up might be disapproval of Stefanini’s appointment from the Vatican itself.

    Yes, I could certainly imagine that the Vatican would object to an out ambassador; they're used to closeted homosexuals. It's a bold move by France, but I like it. If the ambassadorial position were to remain vacant for an extended period of time, and in the unlikely eventuality that France and the Vatican were to severe diplomatic relations even, so much the better, I say. I don't see why a religion should have the status of a country.

  • 65. guitaristbl  |  April 8, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    It's nice to see some bold progressive moves from France now cause with the expected results of the next elections in 2017, a lot of dangerous regression is (unfortunately) certain. Let's hope at least that marriage equality survives a victory of the right with the far right in 2nd place.

  • 66. Christian0811  |  April 9, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    With any luck, a repeal of Law 2013-404 would be struck down by the Constitutional Council after an inevitable Article 61 referral.

    Better yet, let's hope either the Senate or National Assembly stay leftist.

  • 67. VIRick  |  April 9, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    It's important to remember that France is a secular republic. The USA has attempted to copy most of the same principals, but France has been far more successful at maintaining the very distinct separation between the secular state and any and all "church business."

    So, the Vatican can "disapprove" all it wants over the appointment of an openly gay ambassador. France doesn't care.

  • 68. hopalongcassidy  |  April 9, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    One of my fondest wishes is for the "Vatican" to be removed from the list of "nations" that deserve international recognition. Fukabunchapopes…as I have said for 50+ years.

  • 69. VIRick  |  April 9, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Hop, alternatively, as a reciprocal gesture, perhaps the Vatican could send a gay papal nuncio to France. They could even hold competitive "try-outs" for the position in the Sistine Chapel.

  • 70. F_Young  |  April 10, 2015 at 6:13 am

    Vatican suspected of rejecting gay French ambassador

    Stéfanini, a 55-year-old practising Catholic, has been described in the Italian press as an exemplary candidate and a man of “exceptional culture”. He is a senior diplomat and chief of protocol in the French government of François Hollande.

    His nomination was put forward in January but the Vatican has not responded, usually an indication that the potential ambassador has been rejected. Reports in both the French and Italian press suggested the decision was clearly connected to Stéfanini being gay.

  • 71. seannynj  |  April 10, 2015 at 6:38 am

    Hollande should nominate another openly-gay ambassador and if that person also gets rejected, he should expel the Vatican's ambassador to France.

  • 72. F_Young  |  April 10, 2015 at 8:48 am

    Seannynj: "Hollande should nominate another openly-gay ambassador and if that person also gets rejected, he should expel the Vatican's ambassador to France."

    Personally, I think France should fail to propose anyone else, and top French officials should be consistently unavailable when the Vatican's ambassador asks to meet with them.

  • 73. seannynj  |  April 10, 2015 at 9:39 am

    That could work too, but I think expelling the Vatican's ambassador is a faster and more attention-grabbing tactic.

  • 74. F_Young  |  April 8, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    Off-topic: Ontario: Parents tell Wynne having openly gay premier makes their homosexual kids safer

    “It’ll be at a business lunch or an event and often it’s a man, a father, who’ll come up and just say quietly to me: ‘my son is really, really, really happy that you’re there, it’s making a difference in his life,“’ she said. “And what that says to me is that it’s a very emotional thing for that dad that his son has said to him just having an out premier makes the world safer for him.”

  • 75. Jaesun100  |  April 8, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Random Thought of the Day:
    I see in my crystal ball the Republicans mounting a 2016 campaign theme "Hey, we will stop all this Attack on religion" They know they have basically lost in June, so now it's going to be about reversal. The religious base is highly energized in those states still stuck in the Bronze Age. I predict a high voter turnout for republicans the question will be will it be in the states that the electoral votes are necessary? Whatever the outcome our fight for civil equality does not end in June. The next president will shape a lot of things and set the tone with all these backlash bills targeting the GLBT. The wrong party in power and all this can be undone and the Supreme Court courts balance of power shifted. Will they present a republican canidate for GLBT equality or will they nominate a more extreme right republican?…………………………

  • 76. davepCA  |  April 8, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    Off-topic breaking news – A pending Florida bill to allow anti-gay discrimination in adoption has been BLOCKED by the state Senate. From an email notice I just received from Equality Florida:

    "The Florida Senate blocked efforts to allow Indiana-style discrimination in adoption. In doing so they derailed an effort that originated in the Florida House of Representatives to reintroduce an anti-gay adoption law in Florida.

    Former Senate President Don Gaetz (R) was an eloquent voice in this game-changing victory, and we applaud the Senator for rallying his colleagues to stop this disastrous effort to put discrimination back into Florida law.

    The decisive Senate action came just minutes after the Florida House voted overwhelmingly to allow taxpayer funded private adoption agencies to refuse to place a child with a certain family on the basis of gender, religion, race, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity or family status.

    Openly-gay State Representative David Richardson (D) was a true champion standing up for our families during debate in the Florida House that lasted over three hours. He put into question the constitutional and moral foundations of Representative Jason Brodeur’s discriminatory bill.

    On top of this great news – the Florida Senate is one vote away from passing an adoption bill that would finally REPEAL the gay adoption ban language from state law. Even though gays and lesbians have been able to adopt for several years, this symbolic action would finally move our state past its Anita Bryant era of discrimination and intolerance. Once passed by the Senate, the bill would head to the Governor’s desk."

  • 77. seannynj  |  April 9, 2015 at 7:10 am

    The FL House voted to remove the gay adoption ban from the state law and the same legislative body also voted for a new anti-gay adoption law that allows publicly funded "private" adoption agencies to discriminate against us?

  • 78. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  April 9, 2015 at 7:56 am

    This same thing has been baffling to me. Such a contradiction from the same body. I wonder how the votes went down.

  • 79. ianbirmingham  |  April 9, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Following deeply passionate debate, the Florida House on Thursday passed an unexpectedly controversial bill allowing adoption and foster-care agencies to deny parents based on the organization’s religious beliefs. Filed in response to a March vote that will strike a ban on gay Floridians adopting, the bill (HB 7111) by Rep. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, creates a “conscience clause,” which says any denial of service based on a written religious or moral conviction is not discrimination. The final vote was 75-38. …

    …House Democrats were unable to gut a bill that would allow adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBT parents based on agencies' religious beliefs. Just an hour later, the Senate upheld language that strikes down an existing ban on gay people adopting children. … House Democrats brought 17 amendments to the floor, most of which specifically banned discrimination based on a long list of factors, including sexual orientation, race, status as a veteran and gender. … Each time during the three-hour process, the Democrats were shot down. Senate members, meanwhile, stood by the House's March vote striking the legal ban on gay Floridians adopting. …

  • 80. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  April 9, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    Thank you, Ian. My next question would be what was the vote on the gay adoption ban repeal? Do you happen to know?

  • 81. ianbirmingham  |  April 9, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Not really a contradiction; the gay adoption ban had already been struck down by the courts, so the 68-50 vote was simply to remove a dead law from the books…

  • 82. RnL2008  |  April 8, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Folks this is what is coming out of Texas:

    Texas hands down is working very hard to violate just about EVERY human rights ever passed by ELIMINATING these and passing obvious UNCONSTITUTIONAL BILLS.

  • 83. Jaesun100  |  April 8, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    What the hell are those lawmakers in Texas on……? Enough animus in that to prove what we all have been saying ….

  • 84. RnL2008  |  April 8, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    Exactly……all being done before SCOTUS is set to hear arguments……if this keeps up, I hope SCOTUS will make one's sexual orientation a protected class.

  • 85. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  April 8, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    I hope so too, Rose

  • 86. Raga  |  April 8, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    Arkansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Hannah Recusal Letter:

    After careful consideration and with much regret, I must recuse from Smith v. Wright, No. CV-15-227. I believe that a majority of this court has created out of whole cloth an issue to delay the disposition in Smith v. Wright, No. CV-14-427.

    Following Justice Cliff Hooftnan's disqualification in Smith v. Wright, No. CV-14-427, Governor Mike Beebe appointed the Honorable Robert W. McCorkindale "as Special Associate Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court to participate in this specific case." The governor's appointment power conferred by the Arkansas Constitution is a matter protected from judicial interference by the separation-of-powers doctrine. This court cannot by judicial fiat usurp the powers of the executive branch.

    When I took the oath of the office, I swore to uphold the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Arkansas. Further, I am obligated to follow the Arkansas Code of Judicial Conduct. Canon 1 mandates that a judge shall uphold and promote the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary. The oath of office and my duties pursuant to the Code of Judicial Conduct require that I recuse in Smith v. Wright, No. CV-15-227. To be clear, I do not recuse from the appeal in Smith v. Wright, No. CV-14-427.

  • 87. F_Young  |  April 8, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    Thanks, Raga.

    Are these recusals discussed elsewhere? If not, would you mind explaining why these three judges recused themselves and how this affects the CV-15-227 case? Do you know the date of the recusal letters? What is the per curiam decision mentioned in J. Wood's letter?

  • 88. VIRick  |  April 8, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    CV-15-227 is the newly-manufactured case, as per the per curiam decision rendered on 2 April 2015. For various reasons, which are extremely explicit, these 3 justices have chosen not to participate in the sham case.

    The legitimate, original appeal is CV-14-427.

    Apparently, both Chief Justice Hannah's and Justice Danielson's recusal letters are dated 8 April 2015. Justice Wood's recusal letter is dated 2 April 2015.

    The case with the new number, which these three are protesting, would, in effect, replace Special Justice McCorkindale with newly-elected Justice Wood, and re-hear a case which has already been heard. McCorkindale was specifically appointed by former Governor Beebe to sit on the original "Smith v. Wright" appeal to its finality.

    To her credit, Justice Wood does not wish to be a puppet to the newly-elected AG Rutledge, as the new case, with the new case number, is Rutledge's invention, which apparently, some of the other Justices have gone along with.

    In other words, the shit has already hit the fan with regard to all the extreme right-wing hacks who just got themselves elected to statewide positions in Arkansas, and who are already threatening the integrity and independence of the Arkansas judiciary.

    Even though the decision in the original appeal has not been announced, these individuals know the results of that decision (which presumably ruled to uphold the lower court decision declaring that the ban was unconstitutional), and certain parties are now attempting to alter that outcome by replacing one justice with another (a maneuver which, of course, is highly nefarious and more than a bit unethical).

  • 89. scream4ever  |  April 9, 2015 at 4:48 am

    Hopefully the three recusals will cause the AG to withdraw this case and allow the original ruling to be released.

  • 90. Raga  |  April 8, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Danielson Recusal Letter:

    It is after careful consideration and with much regret that I present this letter to you. I must recuse from this matter because I believe that a majority of this court has manufactured a case where no case or controversy exists. There has been no motion by any party challenging the qualification of Justice Robert McCorkindale to continue to decide the appeal in Smith v. Wright, No. CV-14-427. Indeed, there can be no such challenge as former Govemor Mike Beebe appointed Special Justice McCorkindale to participate in that "specific case," and there are no time limits on his service in Special Justice McCorkindale's official appointment on file with the Arkansas Secretary of State.

    When I took the oath of office, I swore to uphold the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Arkansas. Moreover, I am bound by the Code of Judicial Conduct, and Canon 1 demands that a judge shall uphold and promote the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary. I cannot be complicit in machinations which have the effect of depriving justice to any party before this court. Because I believe the current actions of the court impinge on the oath I took and my duties under the Code, I must recuse in this matter; although, to be clear, at this time I am not recusing from the appeal in Smith v. Wright, CV-14-427.

  • 91. Raga  |  April 8, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Wood Recusal Letter:

    An opinion in CV 14-427 was not issued prior to the expiration of former Justice Hoofman's and former Justice Corbin's term on the court. As the court has stated, "In their pleadings the parties have taken competing positions regarding the justices that will serve on this case."

    As it is in question whether I should appropriately sit on CV 14-427, I am recusing from Case No. CV 15-227 in the same manner as I have continued to elect not to participate and vote on this specific issue and did not vote or participate in the per curium issued today.

  • 92. VIRick  |  April 8, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    Whoa, it sounds as if there's been a major revolt within the Arkansas Supreme Court against the recent maneuverings and machinations, the full story of which has yet to be exposed, as 3 out of the 7 justices have recused themselves from the newly-manufactured case, and have been very bluntly explicit as to their reasons why.

  • 93. Zack12  |  April 8, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    Indeed there has been Vi.
    Bottom line, they do NOT want to rule on this and thus have been dragging their feet on doing so.
    As for Judge Wood, glad she recused herself, as she made it a point to campaign with the Arkansas Family Council, the FOFT hate group for Arkansas.
    No way should could be considered an impartial juror due to that.

  • 94. VIRick  |  April 9, 2015 at 12:42 am

    Zack, it's much nastier than that, and stinks to high heaven.

    I suspect that the original panel has already decided the original appeal, and assigned a justice from the majority to write the opinion. For some unknown reason, even though they all know the results, they have never released their ruling. I'm almost positive that the majority ruled to uphold the lower court's ruling declaring the marriage ban as unconstitutional (and that one or more of the dissenters dragged their feet in completing their dissent, thus throwing the outcome into the new year). And now, they are attempting to change the outcome by changing the personnel sitting on the court by inventing a new case to replace the original appeal.

  • 95. Zack12  |  April 9, 2015 at 7:33 am

    I agree 100% with you on that.
    Bottom line, the bigots do NOT want a positive ruling for our side and have been dragging their feet to make sure that doesn't happen.

  • 96. guitaristbl  |  April 9, 2015 at 4:57 am

    This whole circus is more proof that republicans are trying to ruin any integrity state courts might have had. Who asked for this new case ? Rutledge I suppose ? This is a travesty of justice and at least wood had the basic decency to recuse from that case. Rutledge has 4 judges left to decide the case. I hope she is proud. Far right scum.

    I don't remember the positions of all of the 4 remaining judges (I remember that at least one of them is against us) but I hope that they rule for common sense and for the judges who have originally heard the case to decide it.

  • 97. VIRick  |  April 9, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    "Rutledge, I suppose?"

    Yes, completely. She's the evil "wicked witch" in this mess, maneuvering and manipulating.

  • 98. 1grod  |  April 13, 2015 at 11:24 am

    Raga: Ethics complaint filed over Arkansas Supreme Court handling of marriage case
    Tippi McCullough has filed a complaint with the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission over the Arkansas Supreme Court's handling of the appeal of the case to strike down the ban on same-sex marriage. She relied on actions April 9 by two Supreme Court members as the basis for complaints against four justices who remain on a newly created related case — Justices Courtney Goodson, Karen Baker, Jo Hart and Robin Wynne.

  • 99. 1grod  |  April 13, 2015 at 11:40 am

    A complaint & Letter….

  • 100. weshlovrcm  |  April 9, 2015 at 6:01 am

    Why do Republicans hate our judicial system so much that they will do anything to destroy it?

  • 101. A_Jayne  |  April 9, 2015 at 6:27 am

    Same reason they hate our country and will do anything to destroy it –

    Justice (as meted out by the courts) and the country in general are busy telling them they are not (and/or will soon not be) as powerful as they think they deserve to be…

  • 102. 1grod  |  April 9, 2015 at 7:27 am

    A_ : While troubles with the judicial system may be related to party politics, as expected, it is more complicated. Consider what Justice A. Kennedy said to the House Appropriations Committee a few days ago – criminal justice system is broken.… . Or George Will's April 9th 2015 opinion piece addressing the over criminalization of America.

  • 103. RemC_Chicago  |  April 9, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Informative discussions, everyone! Thanks. Thanks also for the interesting links.

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