Bench Memos

Federal Court Narrows Utah Bigamy Law

Yesterday, in Brown v. Buhmana federal district court in Utah held a portion of that state’s law prohibiting bigamy to be unconstitutional. While the court concluded the state could prohibit an individual from obtaining two marriage licenses or entering into two lawful marriages, it held that the state could not criminalize cohabitation or holding oneself out as married to more than one other person.  This ruling conflicts with the Utah Supreme Court’s own interpretation of the statute, so this case would make a good cert vehicle unless this decision is overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.  Eugene Volokh, Orin Kerr, and David Kopel have more.

Jonathan H. Adler — Mr. Adler is an NRO contributing editor and the inaugural Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. His latest book is Marijuana Federalism: Uncle Sam and Mary Jane.


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