Tuesday, December 31, 2013


A Circuit Justice is the Supreme Court Justice who oversees emergency stays from the circuit court of appeals. As a Circuit Justice on the Supreme Court they can act on their own as to the Application for Stay Pending Petition for Writ of Certiorari, or they can refer the Application to the entire Supreme Court.

 Associate Justice Antonin Scalia is the Circuit Justice for the Fifth Circuit which covers Texas.  In 1993, for some of the 25 most exciting hours of my life, I stopped a court martial while Associate Justice Scalia decided whether or not he would refer the Application for Stay to the entire Court.  With a full press corp reporting on the court martial of my client, the trial came to a stand still and we waited.  Word eventually came that the stay was denied.  But the fact it was even considered sent a message to the court, and my client was given a more  favorable ruling.  This is the client which got me on Ed Bradley's "CBS "Street Stories."

Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor is the Circuit Justice for the Tenth Circuit, which oversees Utah and Colorado for example.  In the Colorado case on Tuesday, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor granted an Interim Application for Stay concerning the Obamacare mandate that some religious associated organizations provide contraception coverage to their employees.  The Obama Administration has until Friday to respond, at which point she will probably refer the matter to the entire court.

The second Application for Stay Pending Petition for Writ of Certiorari which went to Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor involves Utah's gay marriage ban.  The State of Utah has asked that she stay the trial court's order holding the ban unconstitutional.  The Tenth Circuit has already denied the motion several times.  She will probably send the Application to the entire Court.  You need 5 votes for the stay to issue.  Associate Justice Kennedy to date has ruled in favor of gay couples, so it is highly unlikely Utah will get its five votes.


Tuesday night at midnight Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor was at the dropping of the ball in Times Square.  She was invited to be an honorary pusher of the button which drops the ball.

Now that was one busy day. 

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