Well how about this? The Arkansas Supreme Court just of Wright v. Arkansas, the same-sex marriage case it’s been considering for more than seven months.
The state court said that, in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision this morning, “there are no remaining justiciable issues” in the appeal, so the appeal is moot.
UPDATE FROM MAX: I figured the cowardly quartet that now controls the court would dump their weasel-way out of this case at closing time on Friday. I even checked Court Connect, the on-line information site, as I left the office at 5 p.m.. A stop at a convenience store was enough time for the dastardly deed to be done on my way home.
Following is an image of all that was said in an unsigned per curiam opinion. Sure, they can defend it given circumstances. They left unanswered a huge question on whether a voter-approved amendment can abridge the fundamental rights section of the Arkansas Constitution. I guess we should be grateful they didn’t say that was OK.
A court that prides itself on efficiency let an appeal linger for more than seven months. Irony alert: It was taken up on an expedited basis. Political considerations — partisan and judicial — extended the case beyond all reasonable measure. The Republican attorney general gave some new Supreme Court members — Rhonda Wood particularly — an excuse to butt into the case. John Goodson, the puppeteer trial lawyer who boasts about his influence on the Supreme Court through his wife, Justice Courtney Goodson, and immense campaign finance influence on every other member of the court save Chief Justice Jim Hannah and Paul Danielson, is widely believed to have directed Supreme Court strategy in this case.
There’s hope that history will eventually record the inner workings. I believe it to include a majority opinion upholding Judge Chris Piazza after the Nov. 20 oral arguments. I believe the wind shifted after the Karen Baker-Goodson-Wood-Jo Hart controlling bloc, perhaps with help from new Justice Robin Wynne, altered the lineup. Credible reports suggest the court was ready to strike down Piazza, siding instead with the voters’ popular will. That’s always a safe bet for people who must run for their seats. Goodson wants to run for chief justice, to name one. Work continues to find an opponent for her and for Circuit Judge Shawn Womack, a committed homophobe, who so far is unopposed in a run for retiring Justice Danielson’s seat.
The bigger news is that corporate interests — and trial lawyer John Goodson — now control the Arkansas Supreme Court, except where popular prejudices are more important to their political careers. And popular prejudices aren’t a good way to run a Supreme Court or a railroad.
The state case ends with a whimper, not a bang. Cowardly. Almost scandalous. Inexcusable. Welcome to Arkansas justice.
AFTERTHOUGHT: I guess it could have been worse. I’d speculated the court would find a way to issue an opinion that said they’d have struck down Piazza if only they could have, but those tyrants at the U.S. Supreme Court gave them no choice but to knuckle under.
FOR THE RECORD: That dismissal was filed at 5:10 p.m. U.S. Supreme Court ruled at roughly 9 a.m. this morning. It took them eight hours to put this retreat together?