Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014

Appeals court assigns 3 judges to hear Utah same-sex marriage case

By Dennis Romboy, Deseret News

Published: Mon, March 31 12:45 p.m. MDT

 Dustin Lacy and his partner Jesse Gutierrez show off their rings as they wait with hundreds of other gay couples to get marriage licenses at the Weber Center in Ogden on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013. Three veteran 10th Circuit Court of Appeals judges will hear arguments next week in Utah's same-sex marriage case.

Dustin Lacy and his partner Jesse Gutierrez show off their rings as they wait with hundreds of other gay couples to get marriage licenses at the Weber Center in Ogden on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013. Three veteran 10th Circuit Court of Appeals judges will hear arguments next week in Utah's same-sex marriage case.

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Three veteran 10th Circuit Court of Appeals judges will hear arguments next week in Utah's same-sex marriage case.

The 10th Circuit randomly assigned Judges Paul J. Kelly Jr., Carlos F. Lucero and Jerome A. Holmes to consider the appeal of a federal judge's ruling late last year that stuck down the state's voter-approved definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.

Republican presidents appointed two of the three judges, while a Democrat appointed the third. None of them have ties to Utah.

Kelly is the most senior of the three, having served on the Denver-based court since 1992. He was appointed by President George H.W. Bush.

Lucero, the first Hispanic named to the 10th Circuit, was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1995.

President George W. Bush named Holmes to the court in 2006. He is the first African-American to serve on the 10th Circuit.

U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby found Utah's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, saying it violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment.

The state appealed the Dec. 20 ruling to the 10th Circuit and asked the court to stay the decision, but it refused. About 1,300 gay and lesbian couples were married in Utah over a 17-day period.

Utah turned to the U.S. Supreme Court, which halted the marriages pending the appeal.

Attorneys for the state and the plaintiffs — three lesbian and gay couples — have given the judges plenty to read before the April 10 hearing. They have submitted lengthy written arguments to the court. Plus, more than 50 groups, organizations, coalitions and individuals have weighed in with friend-of-the-court briefs on both sides.

Here are brief bios of the three judges:

Judge Paul J. Kelly Jr.

University of Notre Dame, B.B.A., 1963


Fordham University School of Law, J.D., 1967

Private practice, Santa Fe, N.M., 1967-1992. 
New Mexico state representative, 1977-1981

Judge Carlos F. Lucero

Adams State College, B.A., 1961


George Washington University Law School, J.D., 1964

Law clerk, Judge William E. Doyle, U.S. District Court, District of Colorado, 1964-1965. 
Private practice, Alamosa, Colo., 1966-1995. 
Adjunct professor, Adams State College, 1968-1995

Judge Jerome A. Holmes

Wake Forest University, B.A., 1983


Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 1988


Harvard University, M.P.A., 2000

Law clerk, Judge Wayne E. Alley, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, 1988-1990. 
Law clerk, Judge William J. Holloway Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, 1990-1991. 
Private practice, Washington, D.C., 1991-1994. 
Assistant U.S. attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Oklahoma, 1994-2005. Private practice, Oklahoma City, Okla., 2005-2006

Email: romboy@deseretnews.com, Twitter: dennisromboy

Recommended
1. Billy Bob
Eagle Mountain, UT,
March 31, 2014

It is good they assigned 3 judges. That way the decision at this level won't be made by an activist judge with an agenda. I am not saying I expect it to go one way or another (although I know which way I want it to go and that is to be reversed), I am just glad that a single activist judge with an agenda can't decide it at the appeals court level.

2. Christopher B
Ogden, UT,
March 31, 2014

I stand with Mormon Prophet Monson and Pope Francis on this issue.

It's nice to know I am on their side and the side of who they speak for

3. JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC,
March 31, 2014

How about this? Let these judges make their ruling and we all just accept it.

No carping about who appointed who, or that they had an agenda, or that they are activist judges.

We just accept their ruling and accept it, regardless of whether you agree or disagree with it.

Im in.

4. Values Voter
LONG BEACH, CA,
March 31, 2014

@ Billy Bob

single [judge]?

I think we're at 14 rulings and counting post-Windsor -- all in favor of equality for same-sex couples. The "single, activist judge" charge gets more difficult (and more ridiculous) to make with each successive decision.

5. USU-Logan
Logan, UT,
March 31, 2014

@Billy Bob

After last June's SCOTUS Prop 8 and Windsor rulings, not a single judge has ever ruled in SSM opponents' favor, not in NJ, NM, OH, UT, IK, KY, VA, TX, MI, not in a single court room.

guess all those judges are totally activists, not a single one is following the law, right?

I can see that some people hope the appeal court would reverse Judge Shelby's decision, however, judging by the long unbroken winning streak of marriage equality in the past year, my advice for those wishing a reversal? don't count on it.