[JURIST] The governor of Idaho CL “Butch” Otter [official website] filed a petition [text, PDF] Tuesday night asking for the entire US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] to review an earlier Ninth Circuit ruling [text, PDF] against the Idaho constitution’s definition of marriage. The petition is a major positional change for Otter, coming two weeks after he stated in a press release [text] that “we are a nation of laws. Idaho now should proceed with civility and in an orderly manner to comply with any forthcoming order from the 9th Circuit.” Three days later on October 13, a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit declared Idaho’s marriage definition unconstitutional therefore paving the way for the legalization of same-sex marriages in the state. The governor has criticized the Ninth Circuit’s ruling stating in a press release [text] Tuesday that, “I have repeatedly pointed out to the courts that unaccountable judges imposing their perception of social change on the law—rather than public policy being changed through the democratic process—undoubtedly will lead to increased religious strife and restrictions on private property.” Otter’s petition characterizes the circuit court’s decision as “judicial policymaking masquerading as law.” The petition argues [SCOTUSblog report] that the court made three significant errors each sufficiently serious as to require review by an eleven-judge en banc court.
Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] continues to be one of the most controversial legal issues in the US today, with numerous courts weighing in, particularly in the past month. Earlier this week a judge for the US District Court for the District of Puerto Rico [official website] dismissed [JURIST report] a lawsuit challenging Puerto Rico’s same-sex marriage ban. Last week a federal judge overturned [JURIST report] Alaska’s same-sex marriage ban. Earlier this month the Ninth Circuit struck down same-sex marriage bans [JURIST report] in Idaho and Nevada. That ruling followed the US Supreme Court’s announcement earlier this month that it had denied seven pending appeals [JURIST report], effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin and Indiana.