As I wrote on November 8, the objective in Sevcik v. Sandoval (challenging Nevada’s marriage amendment) was to get the case to the friendlier 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The matter was before Judge Robert Clive Jones of the United States District Court for Nevada. Judge Jones has served as a Mormon bishop and was appointed by GW Bush.
He had been openly critical of Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision in the
Proposition 8 case and skeptical of the plaintiffs’ arguments in this
case. His decision in opposition to marriage equality was nearly a foregone conclusion.
Jones has now ruled that prior Supreme Court precedent — a 1972 case, Baker v.
Nelson, that denied a same-sex couple’s marriage claim as lacking any
‘substantial federal question’ — controlled his decision to deny the claims of the plaintiffs.
This is an extremely important case because it argues that Nevada’s constitutional ban on marriage equality violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. This may very well make its way to the Supreme Court next year.