John Lynch of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported this morning that Circuit Judge Tim Fox had awarded $71,214 in legal fees to Cheryl Maples, the lawyer for plaintiffs who successfully challenged the state’s unconstitutional treatment of same-sex parents in issuing birth certificates.
Based on discrimination and not biology, the state gave presumptive parenthood in
The legal bill could have been even higher for taxpayers (and remember this doesn’t include the embedded cost of the staff lawyers, PR flacks, private cops and other
I’d like to post Fox’s full opinion here, but the court’s
“Truly ridiculous” is how Fox described Senior Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Merritt’s assertion that Maples did not prevail in the litigation because it completely contradicts the attorney general’s own position on the case from two years ago, Fox wrote.
“Such statement is not only incorrect, both factually and legally, it is contrary to the first sentence of defendant’s initial responsive pleading,” his findings state.
The judge further ridiculed Merritt’s arguments about how much work Maples has performed since the litigation returned to his court last October, writing that her position “evidences a complete lack of professionalism, as well as common sense.”
This assessment of the state’s work is in opposition to a lawyer, Maples, who Fox said was “totally unfamiliar” with the rules of civil and appellate procedure. The state, with all its resources, lost a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent. The U.S. Constitution prevailed, something it might be risky to count on as Trump judicial appointees pack the federal bench.