Surprise! Justice Kennedy, once again,
WASHINGTON — In response to a last-minute request from lawyers for the state of Idaho, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Wednesday stopped Tuesday’s federal appeals court marriage ruling from from going into effect immediately.
Under a Tuesday evening order from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the mandate in the cases challenging both Idaho and Nevada’s bans on same-sex couples’ marriages was issued. The mandate is the final step the appeals court needed to take in order to put its ruling into effect.
Following the issuance of the mandate, Nevada officials announced they would not be appealing further and at least some local officials began preparing to allow weddings to begin on Wednesday. Idaho officials gave no such indication, with the state’s attorney general saying, “It’s still too early to know fully what the decision and orders mean for Idaho and how the state will proceed.”
On Wednesday morning, however, lawyers for Idaho went to the Supreme Court, asking Kennedy to issue a temporary stay of the 9th Circuit’s mandate, noting, “Unless stayed, the district court’s injunction and the Ninth Circuit’s mandate will compel Idaho officials to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples beginning at 8:00 a.m. MDT this morning.”
Although the application seeking the stay only came from Idaho officials, Kennedy’s order issuing a stay references both Idaho and Nevada’s cases. It was not immediately clear why Kennedy’s order referenced the Nevada case number.