The Utah Attorney General’s office has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block a ruling that allows gay marriage in the state. A decision on the stay could be delivered by the end of this week.
Attorney General Sean Reyes and a team of state lawyers filed the 101 page emergency request with the U-S Supreme Court on Tuesday afternoon. They’re the court to stay a ruling issued earlier this month by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby that overturned the state’s law banning gay marriage. Since that decision, more than 900 gay couples have married. The decision on whether to grant the stay will fall on Justice Sonia Sotomayer who oversees stay requests out of the Tenth Circuit. Carl Tobias is a constitutional law professor at the University of Richmond. He says Justice Sotomayor has several options for how she may rule on the stay request.
“She would receive the petition first and then can decide by herself on the request or she can then refer it over to the other justices. If she ruled by herself, then the losing party also could ask another justice or all of the justices to consider it,” says Tobias.
Justice Sotomayor has asked the plaintiffs in the original case to respond by 12 noon eastern time on Friday. A ruling by Sotomayor herself or one that involves all nine justices could be delivered anytime after that. Four other requests to stay Judge Shelby’s ruling have been denied: three by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and one by Shelby himself. Meanwhile, the Attorney General’s office announced Tuesday that they are accepting applications from outside counsel to help the state in its efforts to appeal the ruling to the Tenth Circuit.