Hawaii governor supports motion to put marriage case on a parallel track with Sevcik v. Sandoval, the Nevada case
December 13, 2012
By Scottie Thomaston
Hawaii governor Neil Abercrombie filed a reply to LGBT legal group Lambda Legal’s request to put its case (Sevcik v. Sandoval, challenging Nevada’s anti-gay marriage laws) on a parallel track at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals with the Hawaii marriage case Jackson v. Abercrombie. The Nevada plaintiffs asked the Ninth Circuit to brief these cases on the same track and hear the cases with the same three-judge panel on the same day. As they write in their request, the issues are similar and their appeals were only filed a few months apart.
In Governor Abercrombie’s reply, he writes that he “affirmatively supports” the motion on the understanding that he will be able to file his own separate briefs in the Jackson case and will not have to join the briefs in the Nevada case. He notes that the request is not to “consolidate” the cases and combine briefs but rather to have the cases briefed and argued alongside each other. This way, he wouldn’t have to join with either the plaintiffs or the intervenors defending the Hawaii anti-gay marriage laws.
The earlier request noted that the Nevada plaintiffs were “nearly unopposed” in asking for the cases to be heard together. As I wrote yesterday:
Briefs in the Hawaii case are currently due February 15, 2013 according to the filing.
The Supreme Court will decide similar issues in the Prop 8 case, but so far no party has attempted to permanently put these challenges on hold until the Court renders its decision likely by June 2013. The Court could decide the Prop 8 case on the merits or decline to do so and find that the proponents of Prop 8 lack Article III standing to appear in federal court to defend the initiative.
If the motion is granted a three-judge panel will hear both cases and rule after oral arguments held on the same day.
h/t Kathleen for this filing