The Arkansas Supreme Court today extended still further an answer to the question of which members will decide the challenge of Arkansas’s same-sex marriage ban.
It issued a brief order today that said, in full:
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“Responses to the court’s per curiam order of February 5, 2015, are taken as a new case. Simultaneous briefing due in ten days. Danielson, J., dissents. New Case No. is CV-15-227.”
So the plaintiffs who won an order from Judge Chris Piazza striking down the ban and the state, which supports the ban, have 10 days to argue further on who should rule on the case.
The case was decided by Piazza almost a year ago. In November, the case was completed with oral arguments and, according to reliable accounts, the court reached a decision and the opinion was assigned to a justice on the prevailing side to write. But the year ended without issuance of an opinion. Jan. 1, two seats on the court changed. In one case, Justice Robin Wynne succeeded the retiring Donald Corbin. Justice Rhonda Wood succeeded Cliff Hoofman, but he didn’t participate in the case. A special justice was assigned because Hoofman recused.
Since then, the court has heard arguments on whether the special justice assigned to the case should complete it, as has been custom.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a motion saying Wynne and Wood should hear the case and asking for another round of oral arguments. Plaintiffs have said the case should be decided by those who heard the case and that there was no need for another round of arguments.
Feb. 5, the Supreme Court asked for arguments on Rutledge’s motion. Those arguments were filed.
Today, this. It’s a little unclear to me what additional briefing is needed on the question.
But it moves the Arkansas court closer to June, when the U.S. Supreme Court may decide the question for them. Though not the Arkansas constitutional question that the Piazza ruling also presents.
Justice delayed …..