In January, a panel of judges from the Ninth Circuit Court invoked heightened scrutiny in a ruling involving a gay juror who had been booted from a lawsuit between two HIV pharma companies. The deadline to appeal that ruling passed last week and its impact on pending and future LGBT rights cases could be profound. Chris Geidner reports at Buzzfeed:
“AbbVie’s decision not to appeal this ruling may turn out to be a pivotal moment in the quest for marriage equality in every state in this country and greater constitutional protections for all LGBT Americans,” HRC President Chad Griffin said of the pharmaceutical spin-off of Abbott Laboratories in the statement. “We thank the company for standing on the right side of history.” Even before the question of whether Abbott would seek further review of the January decision was resolved, the decision started to have ripple effects. On Feb. 10, Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto announced that she and her client, Gov. Brian Sandoval, would no longer be defending Nevada’s amendment banning same-sex couples from marrying on appeal in the 9th Circuit — in large part based on the fact that they did not believe their appeal would succeed if the amendment had to withstand heightened scrutiny.
AbbVie provided a statement to Buzzfeed: “AbbVie recognizes that the implications of the Court’s findings extend far beyond the underlying case. For that reason, we chose not to appeal.”