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View Diary: Scotus Blog: Supreme Court won’t uphold or strike down Prop 8 (199 comments)

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  •  But the district court's opinion only affects (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the parties in the case.  It has no precedential force, and it would leave Prop. 8 standing, I believe.

    There would have to be a new case brought (by different parties), I believe, for Prop. 8 to be struck down.

    The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

    by lysias on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 09:46:47 AM PDT

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    •  It would leave Prop 8 standing (7+ / 0-)

      But every individual in the district's jurisdiction could then sue for a marriage license, and the court would almost certainly have to issue them. There is nothing in this case that makes it so unique that the legal principles could not apply to similarly situated couples. I'd say it is unlikely that is the course that the court will want to go. I'd say it is more likely to remand the case back down to the circuit level and the whole circuit would have to recognize the ruling as precedent. Would would be a BFD. The 9th circuit contains not only California, but also pretty much all of the west, including Alaska and Hawaii

      •  Yeah, but the district court's opinion (0+ / 0-)

        is binding on other district courts, even within that district.

        •  No - a district court ruling is not binding (0+ / 0-)

          One judge on a district court is not bound by legal decisions of another district court judge, whether on the same court or not.  

          If the Ninth Circuit's decision is vacated, and the district court opinion here is found not to bind anyone but the specific plaintiffs (i.e., that those specific plaintiffs get a marriage license, and that's it), then a conservative district court judge in San Francisco could most certainly deny the next same-sex couple a marriage license on grounds that Prop 8 is constitutional.

          Now, if THAT happened, then presumably the plaintiffs could appeal to the Ninth Circuit, and there would be no standing issues whatsoever.  But a different Ninth Circuit panel could also find Prop 8 constitutional; they would not be bound by a prior vacated panel decision to the contrary.

      •  District Court Injunction (0+ / 0-)

        The trial court decision did not just rule that the plaintiffs in that case could marry.  The judge granted a permanent injunction prohibiting the State from enforcing Prop 8 against anybody.  So, the ruling already applies to everybody in the State.  No real risk of future lawsuits and potentially inconsistent decisions within the state.

      •  Could such a suit be brought as a class action (0+ / 0-)

        suit on behalf of all same sex couples that wish to marry or would each individual couple have to sue separately?

        You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

        by Throw The Bums Out on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 12:30:28 PM PDT

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    •  Yes, I think you're right. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      milton333, lgmcp

      It would be a confusing mess if we were only left with the district court's opinion.

      One should no more deplore homosexuality than left-handedness. ~Towards a Quaker View of Sex, 1964 (Proud left-handed queer here!) SSP: wmlawman

      by AUBoy2007 on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 10:02:57 AM PDT

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    •  9th Circuit (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, penguins4peace

      The District Court ruling was upheld by the 9th Circuit, which does have precedential weight.  The issue is that the 9th Circuit ruling was on narrow grounds - that Prop 8 could not take away a right that was previously established in state law.

      The bottom line is that the predicted result is equality in California but not in Mississippi.  The reasoning used to get there is almost beside the point.

      •  The thing is, the 9th Circuit's opinion might be (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        penguins4peace, Bensdad, CoyoteMarti

        vacated, if SCOTUS rules there's no standing (because then there would also be no standing for the case in the 9th Circuit).  So we would just be left with the district court's decision.

        The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

        by lysias on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 11:05:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  True (0+ / 0-)

          California state courts have a practice of depublication, in which the Supreme Court can rule that a Court of Appeal decision is not reversed, but that it can't be cited as precedent in any other proceedings.  The federal courts don't, so a ruling that the result of the trial court and 9th Circuit decisions stands, but the Supreme Court thinks the 9th Circuit shouldn't have taken the case in the first place, would muddy the waters, but it wouldn't make the 9th Circuit decision disappear.

          Reading the transcript it seemed like the Court really didn't like the standing argument.  There was a lot of push back on the idea that the Governor and Attorney General can trump the initiative process by just deciding not to oppose a suit attacking an initiative.  They may want to establish equality in California but not Mississippi, but the standing argument may not be the reasoning they use to get there.

          •  It would disappear under your scenario. (0+ / 0-)

            There's a couple thing at work.

            1) The Supreme Court could decide that IT wrongly took the case.  The Supreme Court gets to pick and choose the cases it hears, under its certiorari jurisdiction.  It rejects some 99% of the cases brought to it each year.  When the Supreme Court decides not to hear a case, then the circuit court decision is final and binding law for that circuit.

            This is not "standing."  This is an issue of the Supreme Court's discretion to decide what cases it wants to rule on.

            2)  The standing issue is whether the NINTH CIRCUIT had the legal right to take the case.  A party that loses in the district court has a right to appeal to the circuit court.  The problem here is that the losing party--California--DID NOT appeal.   So the Supreme Court is deciding whether it is legally permissible for the Prop 8 backers to appeal instead.  If not, then the ordinary rule would apply when the losing party doesn't appeal: the district court decision is binding.

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