Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hiatus as I compile a procedural history of Jackson v. D.C. Bd. of Elections that I will link to this site

I expect to catch up with legal news and commentary in the next few days. In the meantime, I am working on this document:

Jackson v. District of Columbia Bd. of Elections, Civ. No. 2009 CA 008613 B, slip. op. (D. C. Super., Jan. 14, 2010), petition for cert. filed, No. 10-CV-20 (D.C. Ct. App. Jan. 15, 2010)
Procedural History Compiled By Michael Ginsborg, MLS
Prop. 8 and the Right to Marry
First Update: March ___, 2010


On March 2nd, Chief Justice Roberts denied an application for an emergency stay of the D.C. Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009. Plaintiffs sought the stay pending a forthcoming petition for review of a judgment by the D.C. Court of Appeals in Jackson v. D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, Civ. No. 2010 CA 000740, slip op., (D.C. Super. Ct., Feb. 20, 2010), aff'd, No. 10-CV-177 (D.C. App. Ct., Feb. 26, 2010). The issue involved a proposed referendum on the marriage equality law before it took effect March 3rd. Plaintiffs - a group of ministers - challenged a ruling by the D.C. Elections and Ethics Board that disqualified the referendum. In re Referendum on the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009, (DCBOEE, Feb. 4, 2010). On February 5th, plaintiffs petitioned the D.C. Superior Court to review the Board's decision and issue a writ compelling the Board to accept the referendum. They also filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to keep the marriage equality law from taking effect. D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman denied the motion; plaintiffs appealed; but the D.C. Court of Appeals upheld Holeman's order. Plaintiffs exhausted their alleged remedy for injunctive relief when Chief Justice Roberts denied their emergency application. And this case ended with Robert's decision, because a court could decide the referendum question only if plaintiffs succeeded at staying the marriage equality law.

If the same plaintiffs in a related case succeed, a court order would require the D.C. Elections Board to accept The Marriage Initiative of 2009, limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. The case arises from a decision [insert link] by the Board to disqualify the initiative. It raises three questions: (1) Did the D.C. Council have authority under the Charter Amendments Act to prohibit initiatives that violate the Human Rights Act? (2) If passed, would the Marriage Initiative violate the Human Rights Act by discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation? (3) Is there an implied exclusion of initiatives that, if passed, would violate existing statutes?

I am compiling a procedural history of this "initiative" case - now before the D.C. Court of Appeals - for two reasons. First, voters will have opportunity to overturn D.C.'s marriage equality law if plaintiffs prevail. Plaintiffs have favorable odds of success if the case reaches the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Roberts found that arguments by petitioners in the "referendum" case "have a certain force," even if he declined to consider their merits. The "referendum" petitioners make the same arguments in the initiative case. Moreover, Roberts said that "petitioners will have the right to challenge any adverse decision [in the initiative case] through a petition for certiorari in this Court at the appropriate time." That prospect strikes me as likely.

Second, as a law librarian, I see the need to keep relevant filings in an accessible place, as websites that link to them today may not link to them tomorrow.

1 comment:

Homo Rugger said...

Looking forward to your piece!

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