Idaho: Gov. Butch Otter requests Ninth Circuit Court 11-judge panel to review same-sex marriage ruling

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter

Gov. Butch Otter of Idaho has filed a request with the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court to hear his state’s appeal regarding the recent same-sex marriage ban’s repeal to be heard by a full 11-judge panel instead of the usual 3-judge panel.

From the Spokesman.com:

“Because the marriage issue is so passionately contested and so divisive among the citizenry, the perception of the legitimacy of this court’s resolution of it must be of paramount concern,” attorneys for the governor argue in their motion. “A decision by an 11-judge panel stands far higher and stronger than does a decision by a three-judge panel, just as a decision by a three-judge panel stands far higher and stronger than does a decision by a single judge.”

U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale last month overturned Idaho’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, saying it violated the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process; four Idaho couples had sued, saying their constitutional rights were violated by the state not allowing them to marry or not recognizing their legal marriages from other states.

The appeal was immediately filed with the Ninth Circuit Court when the initial ruling was issued. However, it is unusual to go directly to a full “en banc” hearing. Normally, an appeal works it’s way through a 3-judge panel, and then to “en banc” as an appeal or directly to the US Supreme Court.

The Ninth Circuit Court has ordered that the case be handled swiftly,
with briefing over the summer and arguments in the second week of
September.