Federal judge to hold hearing on Monday on whether to stay decision requiring marriage equality in Utah
December 21, 2013
On Monday morning at 9AM, Judge Shelby, who authored Friday’s district court decision striking down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban, will hold a hearing in his courtroom to determine whether to grant a stay. The stay request came from state defendants late Friday. The hearing notice also says that if the plaintiffs are filing a response to the request for a stay, it’s due by 5PM on Sunday, December 22. The defendants can also file a reply, but it’s due before Monday’s hearing.
A separate request to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals for an emergency stay has been filed by state defendants. This stay request is only temporary: it asks the Tenth Circuit to halt same-sex marriages only until the district court decides on a more permanent stay. The plaintiffs have filed their opposition to an emergency stay at the Tenth Circuit. Their main argument is that the state failed to address the criteria for granting a stay, and since a district court hearing is scheduled for early Monday morning, there is no reason for the Tenth Circuit to involve itself in the process. The key take-away:
There is no need for this Court to step in given that the District Court is expeditiously moving forward to give Appellants a hearing on their request for a stay of the District Court’s summary judgment order this coming Monday morning.
Since both parties have filed briefs in the Tenth Circuit request, the appeals court could rule at any time. They could also choose to simply wait for the district court’s hearing on Monday. If the emergency stay is granted, it would presumably expire after the district court issues its order. The district court’s decision on whether to grant a stay can also be appealed to the Tenth Circuit, and ultimately to the Supreme Court, if the losing party chooses to do so. Justice Sotomayor is the circuit Justice for the Tenth Circuit, meaning that an application from an appeal to the Tenth Circuit would reach her chambers before it got to the full Supreme Court. She could either grant or deny the stay, or ask the full Court to decide – if the stay request goes that far.
Meanwhile, an appeal of the decision on the merits has been filed and docketed at the Tenth Circuit.
The next steps in the case are the filing of the plaintiffs’ brief in the district court on whether they should issue a stay, and then Monday’s hearing. EqualityOnTrial will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates.
Thanks to Kathleen Perrin for these filings