VIRGINIA: Fourth Circuit Judges “Hard To Read,” Audio File Of Arguments Released

The audio file of today’s oral arguments at the Fourth Circuit of Appeals has been posted. The Wire has a breakdown of how things went down today. 

The court didn’t announce which three judges would hear the case until earlier on Tuesday. As it turns out, the Virginia case drew one of the most conservative judges on the court, Paul V. Niemeyer, a George H. W. Bush appointee who will almost certainly decide in favor of the ban. But according to early reports from the court, namely those of Buzzfeed‘s Chris Geidner, the other two judges on the panel seem to be leaning towards striking down the ban (The Washington Post‘s Robert Barnes, however, described one of the judges as “hard to read”). Those are judges Roger L. Gregory (a Clinton recess appointee who was later nominated by George W. Bush) and Henry F. Floyd (a George W. Bush district judge who was nominated for the appeals court by Obama). Gregory in particular seemed interested in pushing back against the state’s — and Niemeyer’s — argument that “traditional” marriage needs to be “protected” in the name of children.

Dig into the clip and give us your thoughts. The douchebag from Alliance Defending Freedom spoke second and ranted predictably about procreation and consummation. (Tipped by JMG reader Str8 Grandmother)

UPDATE: Buzzfeed reporter Chris Geidner has posted an in-depth report. An excerpt:

Two of the court’s three judges appeared ready to strike down the ban Tuesday at oral arguments in Richmond — the third federal appellate hearing on the question currently winding its way through federal and state courts throughout the nation. Judge Paul Niemeyer was the only judge hearing the arguments who pressed heavily on the side of the state’s ban, saying that same-sex couples are creating a “brand new relationship” and that “it takes a male and female to have a child, to have a family.”

The “core of a family” is the mother-father relationship, Niemeyer told Ted Olson, who was arguing for same-sex couples fighting the 2006 marriage ban. Describing that relationship as “A” and same-sex couples’ relationships as “B,” Niemeyer said that “the state can redefine it and call it marriage,” but that wouldn’t change the fact that “these are two different relationships.”

Although arguments about defining fundamental rights and the level of scrutiny to be used in reviewing the 2006 amendment — the questions central to the briefs in the case — were discussed during the hour, Niemeyer’s focus at times seemed out of place, echoing as it did a Kentucky Court of Appeals opinion from 1973 that dismissed a same-sex couple’s attempt to get a marriage license because “what they propose is not a marriage.”

Hit the link above for Geidner’s full report.