Bench Memos

Brazen Fourth Circuit Denies Motion to Stay Ruling Against Virginia’s Marriage Laws

Without bothering to provide a sentence of explanation, the divided Fourth Circuit panel that recently ruled against Virginia’s marriage laws today denied (by the same 2-1 vote) a motion to stay its mandate. (The mandate is currently set to issue on August 20 21.)

Never mind that the Supreme Court in January issued an order staying a federal district court’s ruling against Utah’s marriage laws. Never mind that more sober appellate judges of various ideological dispositions (as Josh Blackman discusses here) have sensibly understood the Court’s order as “virtually instruct[ing] courts of appeals to grant stays in similar circumstances.” The Fourth Circuit does not even mention the Court’s January order.

As Blackman (who favors redefining marriage) discusses, procedural shenanigans like that engaged in by the Fourth Circuit are an assault on the rule of law.

I expect that the Supreme Court will restore procedural regularity before the mandate issues.

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