Thursday, October 9, 2014

Don't they have anything better to do in South Dakota?

Marty Jackley, the attorney general of South Dakota announced yesterday that his state retains the right to define marriage as one-man-one-woman. Nobody seems to have asked Mr. Jackley who's up for reelection in November. He's just letting us all know.

According to Jackley:
It remains the state's position that the institution of marriage should be defined by the voters of South Dakota and not the federal courts. This longstanding tradition and fundamental principle will now be tested in federal district court and likely the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
In a statement, Jackley also said:
Because the United States Supreme Court failed to accept the appeals from other states, a decision regarding South Dakota's regulation of marriage will be decided by our federal court, and, ultimately, by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. 
The two statements combined mean that Jackley hasn't really said anything of substance. Go figure.

The 8th circuit is very conservative. Six of the eleven active judges were appointed by George W. Bush. Seven of the eleven are locally educated (two of the remaining three went to Harvard Law; One to Yale).

For example, In July of 2012 the Eighth Circuit upheld South Dakota's 2005 abortion law requiring doctors to inform patients, in advance of an abortion, that having an abortion was linked to depression and possibly suicide. The law was challenged as a violation of patients' due process and doctors' First Amendment rights. In addition, challengers to the law claimed correctly that the required statements were not scientifically grounded and unproven. The law was ruled unconstitutional by a three-judge panel of the appeals court, but later overturned by an appeal to the court as a whole (en banc).

Meanwhile, South Dakota's same-sex marriage case, Rosenbrahn v. Daugaard, has been pending in federal circuit court since May. Oral argument on the  state's motion to dismiss is being heard on October 17. The case is before Judge Karen E. Schreier, a Clinton appointee. Schreier served as chief judge for six years and is a former US attorney.


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