The Arkansas Supreme Court today granted plaintiffs’ request to expedite its hearing of the appeal of Circuit Judge Chris Piazza’s ruling that struck down the Arkansas ban on same-sex marriage.
UPDATE: The oral argument has been set for 9 a.m. Nov. 20. The case has been fully briefed. Typically, a decision follows oral arguments within a couple of weeks.
Separately and coincidentally, a similar federal case is heading to a hearing Nov. 20 on a motion for a summary judgment that the Arkansas ban is unconstitutional. The federal court hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. that day. The lawyers, many participating in both cases, will be busy.
Justice Jo Hart would have denied the motion to expedite. What does that mean? Who knows? Perhaps she wanted the case to linger until the new year, when a “family values Republican” — Rhonda Wood — takes a seat on the court to succeed Justice Cliff Hoofman. He recused from the case and Gov. Mike Beebe appointed retired judge Robert McCorkindale to hear the case. McCorkindale agreed with the expedited order. (An angry reader says normal procedure is for a special justice to stay on the case even after a seat is filled. Perhaps so. Maybe her thinking was that Robin Wynne would be a better vote to work on in this matter than Donald Corbin, whom he’ll succeed. As I say, today and forever, what Jo Hart is thinking is a good question.)
Also in that case today came a raft of requests to file friend of the court briefs in the case, including from the ACLU, an institute on gender studies at UCLA, an association of retired police and firefighters, social workers and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.