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Media Alerts - Jernigan v. Crane; Rosenbrahn v. Daugaard; and Waters v. Ricketts - Eighth Circuit
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August 14, 2015
  Jernigan v. Crane; Rosenbrahn v. Daugaard; and Waters v. Ricketts - Eighth Circuit
Headline Eighth Circuit panel affirms district court orders enjoining enforcement of Arkansas, South Dakota, and Nebraska laws denying same-sex couples the right to marry

Area of Law Same sex marriage

Issue(s) Presented Whether the district courts properly enjoined Arkansas, South Dakota, and Nebraska laws denying same-sex couples the right to marry, and whether those decisions should be vacated as moot in light of recent United States Supreme Court ruling.

Brief Summary Same-sex couples wishing to marry in Arkansas, South Dakota, and Nebraska filed complaints challenging the states' laws denying same-sex couples the right to marry. In each of the three cases, the district court held that the state law at issue violated the U.S. Constitution, and enjoined its enforcement. The states appealed.

While the appeals were pending, the United States Supreme Court decided Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584 (2015), holding that marriage is a fundamental right that may be exercised by same-sex couples. In light of the ruling, Arkansas, South Dakota, and Nebraska filed suggestions of mootness and moved the Eighth Circuit to vacate the district court judgments enjoining their marriage laws.

In three virtually identical opinions, the Eight Circuit denied each motion to vacate and affirmed the district court judgments. The Eighth Circuit noted that, under Obergefell, the challenged laws are unconstitutional. It held, however, that the Supreme Court's ruling did not moot these three cases. In Obergefell, the Supreme Court expressly invalidated only the laws challenged by the petitioners in that case - none of which were the Arkansas, South Dakota, or Nebraska laws. Moreover, not all of the issues raised by the plaintiffs in these cases were addressed in Obergefell, and the states have not repealed the challenged laws at issue.

The full text of the opinions may be found at:
Jernigan: http://media.ca8.uscourts.gov/.../08/151022P.pdf

Rosenbrahn: http://media.ca8.uscourts.gov/.../08/151186P.pdf

Waters: http://media.ca8.uscourts.gov/.../08/151452P.pdf


Panel
Circuit Judges Benton, Smith, and Wollman

Date of Issued Opinion August 11, 2015

Decided Affirmed

Docket Numbers Jernigan: 15-1022; Rosenbrahn: 15-1186; Waters: 15-1452

Counsel (if known)

Author Per Curiam

Case Alert Circuit Supervisor Joelle Larson, University of Minnesota Law School

    Posted By: Joelle Larson @ 08/14/2015 01:49 PM     8th Circuit  

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