Justices say Supreme Court tipped hand on marriage ruling | Arkansas Blog

Monday, February 9, 2015

Justices say Supreme Court tipped hand on marriage ruling

Posted By on Mon, Feb 9, 2015 at 2:09 PM

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At last: I find myself in agreement with Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia.

They wrote a dissent to the Court's refusal to stay a federal judge's decision invalidating a same-sex marriage ban in Alabama. Marriages began in Alabama today.

Says Talking Points Memo:

The dissent by Thomas, joined by Justice Antonin Scalia, accused the other justices of failing to show "the people of Alabama the respect they deserve" by letting the lower court ruling stand while the case is pending before the Supreme Court. He argued that the order reveals the Court's intention to rule for same-sex marriage.

"This acquiescence may well be seen as a signal of the Court’s intended resolution of that question," Thomas wrote. "This is not the proper way to discharge our Article III responsibilities. And, it is indecorous for this Court to pretend that it is."

"Today’s decision represents yet another example of this Court’s increasingly cavalier attitude toward the States," he added.

To be clear: I agree only with the belief that the court has tipped its hand — that it isn't likely to overturn the dozens of marriage equality rulings when it resolves the 6th Circuit's split from other circuits around the country on the issue. That decision should come by June.

Which brings us back to the Arkansas Supreme Court. Last week it asked for arguments in 30 days on which justices should sit on the "expedited" appeal of Judge Chris Piazza's ruling invalidating the Arkansas ban on same-sex marriage. It seemed an obvious delaying tactic. More and more, it appears the Arkansas court — or at least a controlling segment of the court — wants to delay a decision until the Supreme Court rules. The delay — the case was decided Nov. 20 by the panel that heard oral arguments — has created a black eye for the court that won't soon go away.

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