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Many court watchers (particularly those of us interested in marriage equality litigation) have been eagerly awaiting (after the Tenth Circuit ruling in late June) the ruling from the Court of Appeals For the Fourth Circuit. The marriage equality case out of Virginia is before that court, and the three judge panel heard oral arguments in that case about two months ago. The Fourth Circuit is usually pretty quick to release their rulings, however many legal eagles say that the judges are probably carefully reviewing the (lengthy) ruling from the Tenth Circuit and making appropriate adjustments to their opinions prior to ruling. Nevertheless, they say that the ruling is imminent and will likely be handed down before the end of the month, and could be any day.

From the Richmond Times Dispatch:

Almost two months after an appeals court in Richmond heard arguments in a federal case aimed at overturning Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban, a ruling is imminent, legal experts say.

But the fact that the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has not yet weighed in may indicate the presence of opposing views on the three-judge panel and that the judges are likely reviewing recent decisions by other courts in marriage cases across the country.

“The judges are probably writing multiple opinions based on the questioning at argument, which suggested that they might not agree on the appropriate resolution,” said Carl Tobias, a constitutional law professor at the University of Richmond School of Law.

Tobias said the judges in Richmond are likely considering opinions from the major ruling by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals from June 25, affirming a Utah district judge’s invalidation of that state’s same-sex marriage ban on a 2-1 vote.

Attorney General Mark R. Herring, who sided with the plaintiffs, asked the appellate court to expedite the schedule, “because every day the ban is in effect is another day when thousands of Virginians’ fundamental right to marry is denied,” said Michael Kelly, his spokesman.

The 4th Circuit is already the fastest appeals court of the 13 in the United States, Tobias said. “The median time interval from argument to opinion in nonexpedited appeals is 2.2 months,” he said.

But the groundbreaking Utah ruling meant that the judges in Richmond needed to “read and digest the lengthy majority and dissenting 10th Circuit opinions and incorporate relevant ideas into their opinions,” Tobias said.

Subsequent federal district court decisions to strike down same-sex marriage bans in Indiana and Kentucky earlier this month might also be considered by the Richmond court, Tobias said.

Although there is no deadline for the judges to publish their opinions, they are likely to rule sometime this month, he said.

This case out of Virginia is one of the more high profile cases, partially because of the Loving v Virginia ruling that came down in 1967. It is also high profile because attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies are representing the plaintiffs. They have wanted to take a marriage equality case back to the Supreme Court since the SCOTUS justices ruled that the proponents of Proposition 8 did not have Article III standing back in June of 2013. A photograph of the palintiffs is below.

Originally posted to librarisingnsf on Tue Jul 08, 2014 at 04:43 PM PDT.

Also republished by Kossacks for Marriage Equality and Virginia Kos.

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