ALASKA: AG Craig Richards To Suspend Marriage Appeal Until SCOTUS Rules

“The Supreme Court announced today that it granted certiorari to four same-sex marriage cases. The court’s order makes it clear that it will address the same issues that are at the heart of the Alaska same-sex marriage case, which is on appeal before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. It is anticipated that the numerous ongoing cases across the country addressing these important issues, including Hamby v. Parnell, will be stayed pending a decision by the Supreme Court. I will ask the 9th Circuit to similarly stay Alaska’s case until the Supreme Court issues its decision.” – Alaska Attorney General Craig Richards, in a statement issued last night. The Ninth Circuit denied Alaska’s appeal for an en banc review back in November, so I’m not clear on how this appeal is still active. Readers? (Tipped by JMG reader Christopher)

  • ErikDC

    It’s active only in his imagination.

    • Blake Jordan

      As is his perverted sex life…

  • Reality.Bites

    Could he possibly mean he’s going to ask them to stay the right to marry pending a SCOTUS decision? If so, good luck with that.

    • Sam_Handwich

      been there, done that

      FRIDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2014
      ORDER IN PENDING CASE

      14A413 PARNELL, GOV. OF AK, ET AL. V. HAMBY, MATTHEW, ET AL.

      The application for stay presented to Justice Kennedy and by him referred to the Court is denied.

    • Baltimatt

      See my quote from ADN above. The stay would not stop marriages.

  • Baltimatt

    More from Alaska Dispatch News

    http://www.adn.com/article/20150116/walker-administration-asks-9th-circuit-pause-same-sex-marriage-appeal-pending

    A stay of the appeal would only leave the appeal at a standstill. If granted, the stay would not have any impact on same-sex marriages in Alaska.

    In October, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess found Alaska’s constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman unconstitutional. Despite back and forth in the first week of the ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately denied review of the case, allowing marriages to proceed pending further guidance from the 9th Circuit. The state was also denied a larger, 11-judge en banc review of the case.

    Caitlin Shortell, one of three attorneys who represented plaintiffs in Hamby v. Parnell, expressed some frustration over Richards’ decision to seek a stay. She said the state could have completely withdrawn the appeal from the 9th Circuit. Instead, the state on Tuesday asked the court for an extension of its appeal.

    As far as I know, the Ninth has not acted on Alaska’s appeal, other than to deny a full en banc hearing.

    • Bj Lincoln

      So marriages should have started already?

      • Baltimatt

        They have!

    • AK Christopher

      The State’s Brief is due at the 9th Circuit this Weds. It’s a cop out what he has done.

  • Gay Fordham Prep Grad

    It’s the controlling law in the 9th Circuit until such time a higher court rules otherwise.

  • Sam_Handwich

    another one with a head like a canned ham

  • “I’m not clear on how this appeal is still active. Readers?”

    Because the number one most popular pet in Alaska is a dead horse?

    • lymis

      I may be wrong, but the 9th was not in the group of circuits that had active appeals to SCOTUS at the time cert was denied, right?

      So, despite the fact that all the other Circuits that ruled in favor of equality are done deals because of the denial of cert, in the 9th, it’s still open to appeal to SCOTUS. Only the stay was denied. Not actual review by the Court. Seems obvious how they would respond, but they haven’t actually done so yet.

      Or am I confused?

      From wikipedia:
      “On October 6, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear appeals in cases from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin, leading to legal same-sex marriage in those states, as well as in Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming. A decision on October 7, 2014, by the Ninth Circuit invalidating bans on same-sex marriage in Idaho and Nevada has also affected Alaska, Arizona, and Montana.”

      The decision in the 9th came AFTER cert was denied, so the cert denial in other Circuits doesn’t directly affect states in the 9th. It’s hard to imagine that the same wouldn’t apply, but it’s not formal.

      Possibly gumming up that issue is the fact that the 9th specifically declared heightened scrutiny as applying to all gay issues in result of Windsor (though not in the marriage cases – in the jury selection case) and then used that precedent in its ruling. SCOTUS might take an appeal on that basis if they aren’t willing for heightened scrutiny to apply nationwide.

      • Christopher Gable

        SCOTUS denied Idaho’s appeal. So it’s over for Alaska. The only thing Alaska might ask for is the entire appellate bench in the 9th hearing their case, but again the entire appletate bench in the n9th just turned down Idaho in a similar request. It’s just posturing.

        • Baltimatt

          I don’t think SCOTUS has ruled on Idaho’s appeal.

        • BeaverTales

          It’s totally posturing. The new governor is an Independent who has been closely aligned with Democrats, and he’s sending an olive branch to the local Evangelical community and Republicans by giving lip service to an appeal. However, the state is in the midst of a fiscal crisis due to falling oil revenues. Most of the Democrats, as Cait Shortell was saying, were hoping he would just drop the suit entirely because it’s fiscally irresponsible, if for no other reason. No such luck.

        • Herald

          Right, he is totally playing to the far right Repub/religious base. This can make them feel like he is doing something for their cause. Playing politics don’t worry about the legalities or practicalities of the matter.

        • Dana Chilton

          It’s only over for Alaska once the state’s case is decided by SCOTUS. Alaska was free to follow the 9ths order in Idaho’s case but, instead, chose to take the long and expensive road to the same destination. (bridge to nowhere)

    • VodkaAndPolitics

      Little known fact: When dead horse meat is used in Chili, it’s still called “Moose Chili.” I learned that in Sarah Palin’s book.

    • Guest

      A case is active until it’s been decided (Final Judgement by the highest court possible), dropped (or not appealed and Final Judgement is issued), or dismissed. The 9th ruled on cases from Nevada and Idaho and set a precedent (no judge in the 9th would honor a marriage ban) . Alaska could have legally followed that but its Attorney General said that his ban was different somehow and refused to follow the precedent. A Federal Judge in Alaska disagreed and overturned the law (officially). Alaska then appealed that federal court decision (Hamby V Parnell) to the 9th…That appeal hasn’t yet been officially decided by the 9th. Idaho is different because their specific ban was overturned by the 9th and rejected for further appeal by SCOTUS. You can find the current status here: http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/content/view.php?pk_id=0000000767

      • Dana, I adore both you and lymis, but the question was Joe’s not mine. I just quoted him in my guess of a response.

        • Dana Chilton

          lol good point. I’ll repost

  • kiltedyak

    Its another excuse to drag his heels. Thats all.

    • Baltimatt

      He can drag his heels all he wants. SSM is a reality in Alaska.

      • kiltedyak

        Oh I know. Its also the “look at me I am still defying it” act

  • lymis

    I could -possibly – see them being willing to put a hold on further judicial action until SCOTUS rules.

    I cannot see them being willing to treat Alaska differently than the other states under their jurisdiction, especially when all the appeals from states in Circuits that ruled in favor of gay marriage were denied by SCOTUS.

    This is just a delaying tactic under cover of being reasonable.

  • Bj Lincoln

    What stay?
    It would be nice if everyone would stop pumping money down the drain until SCOTUS rules….in our favor.

  • Ninja0980

    And another Republican asshat AG heard from.

  • YakHerder

    Here’s what happened:

    1. The U.S. district court (which is what they call a federal trial court) ruled that Alaska’s marriage ban violated the U.S. constitution. The court thus ordered Alaska officials to stop enforcing its ban, effective immediately. (Oct. 12, 2014).

    2. Alaska notified everyone that it was going to appeal that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which hears appeals of decisions reached by Alaska federal judges.

    3. Alaska asked the Ninth Circuit to put the Alaska judge’s order “on ice” (har har) and “stay” it temporarily while the state sought an emergency stay from the Supreme Court. The Ninth Circuit said “okay” and stayed the trial judge’s order for a couple of days while Alaska sought an emergency stay from SCOTUS, which SCOTUS denied.

    4. Alaska ALSO asked the Ninth Circuit to stay the trial judge’s order until the Ninth Circuit decided whether the trial judge’s decision was correct. The Ninth Circuit declined to do this, which is why Alaska has marriage equality today!

    5. Normally, appeals of federal trial court decisions are heard by a three-judge “panel” selected at random from all the judges on the Ninth Circuit. If you don’t like the panel’s decision, you can ask for ELEVEN Ninth Circuit judges to re-hear the appeal and, if they want, overturn the three-judge panel decision. This is called “en banc review.”

    6. But Alaska wanted eleven judges to hear its appeal en banc in the first instance—in other words, it asked the Ninth Circuit to dispense with the whole “three-judge panel” thing and just have eleven appellate judges decide the case right off the bat. The Ninth Circuit said, “Nah man, no skipping steps for you. A three-judge panel will hear your case and decide whether the trial judge messed up. If you don’t like their answer, THEN you can ask for en-banc rehearing by 11 of us.”

    7. That’s where we are today. The Ninth Circuit has not heard or decided whether the federal trial judge correctly determined that Alaska’s marriage ban in fact violates the constitution. In fact, the parties have not even submitted written arguments to the court on that question yet! Of course, we know how the Ninth Circuit will rule—the same way that it did in California, Nevada, and Idaho. But for now, yes, the appeal of the District of Alaska’s October 12 order is still alive.

    8. So now Alaska is asking the Ninth Circuit to just not bother reviewing the district judge’s October 12 order, and save the plaintiffs and the state from spending time and resources writing briefs and making arguments for or against it at the Ninth Circuit level, because the Supreme Court is presumably going to answer the legal questions raised by this case on a national level.

    Got it?

    • Reality.Bites

      Thanks for the summary. Seems like it was actually a sensible thing to do, that for a change doesn’t harm people.

      • Balderdashing

        Sensible to continue fighting a lost battle??

        • Reality.Bites

          Sensible to postpone it. If we win at SCOTUS, his case is over. If we lose, his case is alive. But it’s sensible to not bother with it for right now. There’s no chance he’d drop it.

    • AK Christopher

      There is no guarantee the 9th Circuit will accept his request.

  • LovesIrony

    You’ll still go down in history as a bigot

    • Reality.Bites

      He’ll be utterly forgotten by history. He’s the governor of Alaska.

      • TrollopeReader

        He’s the Attorney General

        • LonelyLiberal

          Even more forgettable. In fact, his name already slipped my memory.

        • Reality.Bites

          See? I forgot him between the top of the page and my post.

          • MBear

            who?

          • Reality.Bites

            Me.

  • Lawerence Collins

    Color him cowards yellow!

  • Elaygee

    The ninth circuit’s decision was final in Alaska too as the SCOTUS refused to hear Idaho’s 9th circuit appeal.

    • AK Christopher

      No. The 9th Circuit has yet to hear Alaska’s appeal.

  • TexPlant

    give it up hater

  • Charlie

    That’s a good idea because Alaska’s AG doesn’t have a chance in hell to get a reversal of marriage equality.

  • Mike in Texas

    Hee hee … he’s trying to avoid a slap in the face.

  • guest

    He sure does emit strong gay face.

  • Claude Jacques Bonhomme

    John 3:8
    The wind blows where it wants to. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going.

    Methinks they know full well where the wind comes from and where it is going… and in their minds, it blows.

    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/13/c7/03/13c703c05c3d104d8799f24b9478e6b3.jpg

  • Dana Chilton

    Joe: A case is active until it’s been decided (Final Judgement by the highest court possible), dropped (or not appealed and Final Judgement is issued), or dismissed. The 9th ruled on cases from Nevada and Idaho and set a precedent (no judge in the 9th would honor a marriage ban) . Alaska could have legally followed that but its Attorney General said that his ban was different somehow and refused to follow the precedent. A Federal Judge in Alaska disagreed and overturned the law (officially). Alaska then appealed that federal court decision (Hamby V Parnell) to the 9th…That appeal hasn’t yet been officially decided by the 9th. Idaho is different because their specific ban was overturned by the 9th and rejected for further appeal by SCOTUS. You can find the current status here: http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/content/view.php?pk_id=0000000767

  • Robincho

    Under Seward, we acquired that joint for seven cents on the acre, and I am fearful that we may’ve overpaid. Yeah, if you like dolphins, and puffins and various ursine trespassers on piscine territory, that’s probably where you belong. And salmon gets a whole lot better if you just throw a shitload of brown sugar into the sauce. This is no great secret. But Alaskans reveal it as though it were a Divine Solution to the problem of consuming the crap they dine on up there.

    And speaking of “crap up there,” we DO have that magnificent family up in Wasilla. Aren’t they JUST the classiest bunch EVER? When most of a year is spent in winter, in Alaska that percentage is spent in darkness…
    And only seldom do we find people in darker straits.

    It’s no wonder they elected Sarah (she who is unencumbered by an excess of grey matter) to lead them forward, at least half of the time…

    But here we have the brave Craig Richards, to continue that quest!…And by all means bring everyone down to that frozen passage in your “mind.”

  • Robincho

    If for no other reasons, these silly cases have turned JMG’s readership into Constitutional scholars. And this can never be a bad thing. Some years ago, nobody knew “certiorari” vs. “in pauperis.” But now, we’re totally on top of that stuff, and we can discuss it intelligently. And I’m thinking that’s hella good… I call these cases “silly,” and that’s just where they will ultimately end up. Silly. And their perpetrators will go down in the ridiculousness of history, alongside Roger Taney, and that other crowd who were so convicted of their beliefs, back in the 19th Century… It’ll put the “dread” back into “Dred Scott.” And St. Louis will be forever stained. The Gateway Arch looks pretty fucking silly in the face of what happened across the street. …

  • shellback

    I remember when Craig Richards did an act with Edgar Bergen. I wonder who has their hand up his ass now?

  • ben-andy

    He’s just saying that, until the Supremes rule [and he hopes in the states’ favor in the 6th Circuit’s cases], that he’s not going to spend any more time or money on the appeal to the Supremes. If they rule FOR the states, well then, it is off to the races. If they rule AGAINST the states [and he probably “suspects” they will], he won’t have wasted any more of AK taxpayer $$ than he has up to this point. Well, except that the plaintiffs will be submitting an updated bill for legal costs, but it won’t be getting any worse because of something he did AFTER this point.

    Putz.