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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Courts - "Nevada ponders switch on same-sex marriage"

Very interesting post last evening by Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog - it begins:

Nevada’s attorney general, who filed a full-scale defense of the state’s ban on same-sex marriage just four days ago, has now said publicly that the arguments she made “are likely no longer tenable” in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. That court is now reviewing a challenge to Nevada’s ban, in the case of Sevcik v. Sandoval (Circuit docket 12-17668).

State Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, in a statement released Friday, cited a sweeping new ruling by the Ninth Circuit last Tuesday which concluded that the Supreme Court has put up a higher obstacle to laws that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. The Ninth Circuit drew that conclusion from last June’s decision by the Justices in United States v. Windsor.

Nevada’s top legal officer said that she is using the weekend to further study the state’s arguments on same-sex marriage “in light of” the court of appeals’ new ruling and will discuss the issue with the state’s governor next week. In that new ruling, a three-judge Ninth Circuit panel last week found that laws biased against gays and lesbians must satisfy the more rigorous constitutional standard of “heightened scrutiny.”

The panel decision came in the case of SmithKline Beecham Corp. v. Abbott Laboratories, a civil antitrust dispute between two pharmaceutical companies. The panel ruled that, applying the new standard of review, it is unconstitutional to exclude individuals from serving on juries because of their sexual orientation.

In a brief filed just this past Tuesday in the Sevcik same-sex marriage case, state officials had relied heavily on the argument that the state’s ban is to be judged only by the easiest-to-meet standard — that is, “rational basis” review.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 26, 2014 01:06 PM
Posted to Courts in general