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First Monday open thread and SCOTUS news


Today is First Monday, the first Monday in October and the beginning of the Supreme Court’s term.

This morning, the Court denied review in Kim Davis’ case related to her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. As Equality Case Files notes at the link, two Justices, Thomas and Alito, said the Court’s decision in Obergefell has “ruinous consequences” for religious liberty.

More here.

This is an open thread. We’ll post any breaking news.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. ianbirmingham  |  October 5, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    Justices Alito, Thomas Call for Overturning of Marriage Equality

    Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas have opened the court’s term by calling for the overturning of its 2015 marriage equality decision.

    The Obergefell v. Hodges decision threatens religious liberty, Alito wrote in a statement in which Thomas concurred. The statement accompanied the court’s order deciding not to review an appeals court decision that went against Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who famously closed down marriage license operations rather than serve same-sex couples.

    Barrett has criticized the Obergefell decision and has ties to a prominent anti-LGBTQ+ legal nonprofit, the Alliance Defending Freedom.

  • 2. VIRick  |  October 5, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    Kim Davis Denied Certiorari in "Davis v. Ermold"

    Per Equality Case Files:

    Today, 5 October 2020, in "Davis v. Ermold," the case wherein which the former Kentucky clerk is seeking review of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that she can be sued in her individual capacity for refusing to issue marriage licenses to two same-sex couples, the Supreme Court denied Kim Davis's petition to hear her appeal. Justice Thomas, joined by Justice Alito, wrote a four-page statement concurring in the denial because the petition "does not cleanly present" the "important questions about the scope" of the "Obergefell" decision.

    However, Thomas concludes,"this petition provides a stark reminder of the consequences of 'Obergefell.' By choosing to privilege a novel constitutional right over the religious liberty interests explicitly protected in the First Amendment,and by doing so undemocratically, the Court has created a problem that only it can fix. Until then, 'Obergefell' will continue to have 'ruinous consequences for religious liberty.'”

    The full Statement of Justice Thomas, with whom Justice Alito joins, respecting the denial of certiorari, filed 5 October 2020, is here:

  • 3. guitaristbl  |  October 6, 2020 at 4:23 am

    I think they made their intentions clear. They are waiting for Barrett to help them overturn Obergefell. Did not waste a single day. Comforting Roberts, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh did not get along with this but hardly reassuring about the future of Obergefell.

  • 4. JayJonson  |  October 6, 2020 at 8:01 am

    Not surprised that the odious Thomas and Alito wrote the dissent, but, as Lawrence Tribe tweeted, we can take some small solace in the fact that Kavanaugh and Gorsuch did not join them. I would add that we can also take some solace that Roberts, despite his ugly dissent in Obergefell itself, chose not to join Thomas and Alito. If Barret is added to the Court, the Democrats must expand the membership on the Court.

  • 5. arturo547  |  October 5, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    Marriage equality un Panamá:

    An article from La Prensa newspaper from Panama says that the draft ruling on same-sex marriage in Panama was rejected by the judges of the Supreme Court. It proposed that marriage was only between a man and a woman. The new ruling is being drafted by a female judge. We could that asume that, as the homophobic draft ruling was rejected, the new one Will he a positive one, but que have to be cautious about making conclusions.

  • 6. VIRick  |  October 5, 2020 at 7:23 pm

    Panamá: Marriage Equality Up-Date, 5 October 2020

    Fuentes de la Corte Suprema de Justicia confirmaron que Luis Ramón Fábrega perdió la ponencia de estas demandas contra el Artículo 26 del Código de la Familia en el que se establece que el matrimonio solo puede ser entre un hombre y una mujer. El proyecto de Fábrega, según las fuentes, recibió siete objeciones por parte del resto de los ocho magistrados que componen el pleno. Al ser la magistrada María Eugenia López Arias la primera que hizo comentarios, ella asumió la ponencia. López entró a la Corte en diciembre de 2019, casi al mismo tiempo que sus colegas Carlos Vásquez Reyes y Maribel Cornejo Batista.

    Ahora, López Arias deberá elaborar un nuevo proyecto y ponerlo a circular entre los miembros del pleno, que lo completan José Ayú Prado, Ángela Russo, Olmedo Arrocha, Hernán De León, y Cecilio Cedalise. Si este proyecto consigue la aprobación de al menos cinco magistrados, será sometido a discusión en el pleno.

    Sources from the Supreme Court of Justice confirmed that Luis Ramón Fábrega lost the presentation of these lawsuits against Article 26 of the Family Code, which establishes that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. Fábrega's proposed decision, according to sources, received seven objections from the remaining eight justices that comprise the full court. As Justice María Eugenia López Arias was the first to comment, she assumed the new presentation. López entered the Court in December 2019, almost at the same time as her colleagues Carlos Vásquez Reyes and Maribel Cornejo Batista.

    Now, López Arias must develop a new proposed decision and place it in circulation among the members of the full court, which is completed by José Ayú Prado, Ángela Russo, Olmedo Arrocha, Hernán De León, and Cecilio Cedalise. If this proposed decision receives the approval of at least five justices, it will be submitted to discussion by the full court.

    Note: On two separate occasions, Fábrega's negative proposed ruling against marriage equality was rejected by a vote of 7-2, first in October 2017, just before the binding marriage equality ruling from the CIDH, and then again, after a few revisions were made because of said CIDH ruling, in February 2018. The job of writing a new (favorable) decision, called a "ponencia" (presentation) in Panamanian legalese, is presently being done by Justice María Eugenia López Arias. This procedure of shifting to a different justice when the first justice's proposed decision has been rejected by the majority is identical to what we have already seen in the lead-up to the marriage equality ruling in Colombia, and should not some as a surprise, given that Panamá was once a part of Colombia, and inherited Colombian court procedures, including the additional point that one favorable ruling will have immediate nationwide effect, just like in both Colombia and Ecuador, another country that inherited Colombian court procedures.

  • 7. ianbirmingham  |  October 6, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    ^ Kudos to VIRick for this excellent review! ^

    One glitch though: "should not some" should read "should not come"

  • 8. VIRick  |  October 5, 2020 at 9:14 pm

    Belgium: Transgender Woman Named Deputy Prime Minister

    The "Brussels Times" reported that Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has named Petra De Sutter as one of his government’s seven deputy prime ministers. The newspaper said De Croo also appointed De Sutter, a member of Groen, the Flemish Green Party, as his Civil Service Minister. With this nomination, De Sutter has become Europe’s highest-ranking transgender politician.

    On Thursday, 1 October 2020, King Philippe swore in De Croo’s new government.

  • 9. VIRick  |  October 6, 2020 at 6:02 pm

    Gambia: Parliament Rejects New Draft Constitution

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    On Thursday, 1 October 2020, Justice Cherno Sulayman Jallow, the Chairperson of the outgoing Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) told the press that the new Draft Constitution does not make any provision for gay marriage.

    Section 27 of the current 1997 Constitution states:

    "Right to marry:
    (1) Men and Women of full age and capacity shall have the right to marry and found a family.
    (2) Marriage shall be based on the free and full consent of the intended parties."

    (Although not yet challenged by a same-sex couple seeking to marry, this wording in the current 1997 Constitution could be interpreted as allowing for same-sex marriage, despite all the rantings against this concept by the former dictator Yahya Jammeh, who also went out of his way to jail men suspected of being gay, including any number of his political opponents.)

    The original intent in re-writing the constitution was to clarify the matter that only hetero marriage was legal in Gambia. Thus, Clause 54 of the Draft Constitution states:

    "A man and a woman of full age and capacity have the right to marry and found a family and as such, marriage shall be based on the free and full consent of the man and the woman."

    Quite ironically, the Draft Constitution failed to obtain the required threshold of votes at the National Assembly for it to be read and heard the third time after some lawmakers and members of the public began giving their own interpretation of the Draft Constitution on gay and lesbian rights to marriage in the Gambia, baselessly claiming that the Draft Constitution would allow for same-sex marriage. (Although not mentioned in this news article, one suspects that those ranting against the Draft Constitution to be die-hard supporters of the ex-dictator looking to stir up animosity toward the new government. Still, their baseless claims make no sense.)

    Additionally, in Gambia, Muslims have the Muslim Marriage Act, Christians have the Christian Marriage Act, and the State has the State Marriage Act. And with the rejection of the new Draft Constitution, Section 27 of the current 1997 Constitution remains as law.

  • 10. VIRick  |  October 6, 2020 at 8:11 pm

    Virginia: Non-Binary Candidate Running for Falls Church City Council

    Simone Pass Tucker is running as an openly non-binary person for the Falls Church City Council in the city’s election on 3 November 2020. If elected, they would become the first non-binary candidate to take office in Virginia history and only the second in the history of the country.

    Tucker, a 22-year-old Falls Church native, is running as a progressive candidate with a platform of turning the city into the model of what a “little city” could look like. According to their website, they hope to bring greener technology to the city and cheaper housing through subsidy programs. They also vow to reform policing in Falls Church by shifting officers’ focus to community building and away from “predatory measures.”

    Tucker is running against Falls Church Education Foundation Executive Director Debbie Hiscott, and Josh Shokoor, a member of the city’s Housing Commission, to fill the council vacancy created by the death of Councillor Dan Sze in July.

  • 11. Fortguy  |  October 7, 2020 at 12:20 am

    Broadway diva Patti Lupone delivered a damning zinger Monday night after Donald Trump returned from Walter Reed Medical Center to display his strength and bravado from the balcony of the White House.

    Said LuPone, famous for her balcony scene as Eva Peron in the original production of Evita: “I still have the lung power and I wore less makeup. This revival is closing November 3rd.”

    Twitter users immediately anointed Trump “COVITA”.

    Andy Towle, Towleroad: Patti Lupone Slams Trump’s ‘COVITA’ Balcony Photo-Op: ‘I Still Have the Lung Power and I Wore Less Makeup’

  • 12. VIRick  |  October 7, 2020 at 8:35 am

    So, instead of the dying Evita lamenting, "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina," we have the clinically obese, orange-faced COVITA stammering, "Don't Cry for Me, América."

  • 13. Fortguy  |  October 7, 2020 at 3:38 pm

    I think Covita would qualify his song lyrics as "Red America", and he would definitely tell everyone to cry for him as he craves the constant attention.

  • 14. VIRick  |  October 7, 2020 at 7:13 pm

    That is even better: Thus, we have the clinically obese, orange-faced COVITA mournfully wailing,"Cry, Cry for Me, Red América," especially given that "Red América" has a very different meaning in Spanish.

    Oh, but we are too slow off the mark. Here is Patti LuPone and Randy Rainbow doing a parody, "If Mama Was Married" (If Donald Got Fired):

  • 15. Fortguy  |  October 7, 2020 at 12:57 am

    California Gov. Gavin Newsom nominated an openly gay man to the state’s Supreme Court for the first time in California history on Monday.

    Justice Martin Jenkins, a former prosecutor and judge, accepted the nomination at a press conference with Newsom. If the state’s Commission on Judicial Appointments confirms Jenkins, as it is expected to do, he will be the first Black man to serve on the court in 29 years and the first openly LGBTQ person ever to join the team of justices.

    Jenkins, 66, delivered deeply personal remarks Monday about the influence his sexual orientation has had on his career. “Anyone who knows me knows my identity as a gay man has been the greatest challenge of my life,” he said.

    “It has not been easy,” he continued. “But I want to say today to those young people who may be watching … that I am not here in spite of the struggle; I’m here because of the struggle.”

    Being his “authentic self,” Jenkins concluded, is what helped him make it to this point in his career.

    “I want these young people to know that living a life of authenticity is the greatest gift you can give yourself,” he said. “And if you do that, you too will find yourself in a position where people see you. … Thank you, Governor Newsom, for seeing me.”


    Jenkins, a Democrat, was nominated to replace retired Justice Ming Chin, a Republican who was the court’s most conservative member. If Jenkins is confirmed, he will be only the third Black man in history to serve on the court.

    Lydia O'Connor, Huffpost: California Governor Nominates First Openly Gay Man To State Supreme Court

  • 16. JayJonson  |  October 8, 2020 at 7:14 am

    It is sweet to have a black gay man replace Chin, who dissented from the California State Supreme Court ruling that struck down the marriage ban in 2008 and who voted to uphold Proposition 8.

  • 17. VIRick  |  October 7, 2020 at 7:55 am

    The Vice-Presidential Debate Tonight, 7 October 2020

    A wide plexiglass barrier will take center stage at the Vice-Presidential debate, and the Pence team is not happy, as the Vice-President does not want voters to remember that he is supposedly in charge of the administration's mis-guided coronavirus response, now that the White House has become a COVID-19 hotspot.

    Kamala Harris and Mike Pence will sit over 12 feet apart, separated by a plexiglass wall at tonight's Vice-Presidential debate in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But Pence’s team was reluctant to agree to the plexiglass wall, making fun of Harris for wanting to protect herself from the Vice-President who has been exposed to multiple people with the virus, as the White House coronavirus outbreak rages.

    Photos of the now-infamous Rose Garden ceremony for the Barrett nomination show Pence to have been sitting directly in front of Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who has tested positive for COVID-19. Lee was not wearing a mask. And within the Trump entourage, both Kayleigh McEnany, his lap dog press secretary, and Stephen Miller, his hateful anti-immigration, anti-asylum advisor, have now tested positive for COVID-19.

  • 18. VIRick  |  October 7, 2020 at 9:53 am

    Querétaro State Congress Sued for Failure to Pass Marriage Equality

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    El 1 de octubre 2020, el frente en pro del matrimonio igualitario, El Frente Queretano por el Derecho a la No Discriminación y el Estado Laico, con apoyo de otras organizaciones y abogados procedentes de Yucatán, interpone un recurso de amparo a nivel federal contra Congreso de Querétaro. El activista Walter López destacó que con este recurso, se busca obligar a la legislatura estatal a incorporar los derechos de este sector poblacional al código civil estatal.

    Explicó que este proceso jurídico se realizará de forma similar al procedimiento que se hizo en Yucatán, del cual en julio de este año la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación (SCJN) atrajo el caso, ante el rechazo de su legislatura para legalizar el matrimonio igualitario.

    Jorge Cruz Altamirano, abogado, explicó que el amparo incluye específicamente la violación a las leyes por no discutirse la legalización de los matrimonios igualitarios en la Comisión de Administración y Procuración de Justicia, la cual tiene más de un año sin sesionar.

    On 1 October 2020, the group in favor of marriage equality, the Queretano Front for the Right to Non-Discrimination and the Secular State, with the support of other organizations and lawyers from Yucatán, filed an amparo at the federal level against the Querétaro Congress. The activist Walter López stressed that with this action, they seek to force the state legislature to incorporate the rights of this sector of the population into the state civil code.

    He explained that this legal process will be carried out in a similar way to the procedure that was done in Yucatán, wherein which in July 2020, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) accepted the appeal of the case, following the rejection of its legislature to legalize marriage equality.

    Jorge Cruz Altamirano, lawyer, explained that the amparo specifically includes the violation of law for their not discussing the legalization of marriage equality in the Administration and Procurement of Justice Committee, which has not been in session for more than a year.

  • 19. VIRick  |  October 7, 2020 at 12:38 pm

    Yucatán: SCJN Presently Hearing Marriage Equality Case

    Per Voto LGBTQ:

    Hoy, el 7 de octubre 2020, la SCJN decidirá si atrae el amparo del Colectivo PTF Yucatán y Article 19 MX-CA contra el Congreso de Yucatán por las votaciones ilegales y secretas del 2019 contra el matrimonio igualitario.

    Today, 7 October 2020, the SCJN will decide whether the PTF Yucatán Collective and Article 19 MX-CA obtains protection against the Yucatán Congress for their illegal and secret votes in 2019 against marriage equality.

    Note: The strangely named Article 19 MX-CA is an international human rights organization in defense of free expression, the right to information, and freedom of the press in Mexico and Central America. It is not an LGBT group, but rather, is a press organization most concerned about the secretness of the secret vote, regardless of the issue at hand.

    Per Kalycho Escoffié:

    Hoy día, el 7 de octubre 2020, ya inició la sesión de la Primera Sala de la SCJN. Entre otros, se votará si ejercen su facultad de atracción en el amparo 263/2020, presentado contra la votación secreta del Congreso de Yucatán por la cual se rechazó el matrimonio igualitario.

    Today, 7 October 2020, the session of the First Chamber of the SCJN has already begun. Among others, they will vote upon the exercise of their power of protection in amparo 263/2020, presented against the secret vote of the Yucatán Congress by which marriage equality was rejected.

    Per César Briceño:

    Con esta nueva atracción, ya son dos los amparos en la SCJN contra el Congreso de Yucatán por las votaciones ilegales y secretas del 10 de abril y 15 de julio de 2019 en contra del matrimonio igualitario.

    With this new protection, there are now two amparo protections from the SCJN against the Yucatán Congress for the illegal and secret votes of 10 April and 15 July 2019 against marriage equality.

    Per Rex Wockner:

    On the heels of accepting one Yucatán marriage equality case that will determine if Supreme Court jurisprudence rulings bind state lawmakers, the court today took a second Yucatán case targeting the legislature for voting down marriage equality in secret.

  • 20. VIRick  |  October 7, 2020 at 12:49 pm

    Guanajuato: Verde Deputy Insists on Legislating for Marriage Equality

    Per Diputados Verdes de Guanajuato:

    Retoma diputada exhorto y insiste en legislar sobre matrimonios igualitarios. La diputada del Partido Verde Ecologista de México (PVEM), Vanessa Sánchez Cordero pidió a la presidenta de la Comisión de Justicia, Laura Cristina Márquez (PAN), retomar el análisis de la iniciativa sobre matrimonios igualitarios presentada por el Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD) en el octubre 2018.

    Deputy continues to exhort and insist upon legislating for marriage equality. The deputy of the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM), Vanessa Sánchez Cordero, requested the president of the Justice Committee, Laura Cristina Márquez (PAN), to again take up and continue the analysis of the initiative on marriage equality presented by the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) in October 2018.

  • 21. VIRick  |  October 7, 2020 at 6:53 pm

    Uruguay: First Elected Transgender Official

    Per Andrés Scagliola:

    Tacuarembó, y el Uruguay todo, tendrá su primera edila electa (legisladora local) trans, Alejandra da Rosa: "Estoy contenta con la posibilidad y luchar para demostrar que todo se puede."

    Tacuarembó, and all of Uruguay, will have its first transgender elected mayor (local legislator), Alejandra da Rosa: "I am happy with the possibility and fight to demonstrate that everything can be accomplished."

    Tacuarembó, the 8th most-populous city in Uruguay, lies in the north-central part of the country, the heartland of the gauchos, along the main rail line to Brasil.

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