Thursday, June 27, 2013

UNCONSTITUTIONAL: U.S. Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Governor Brewer Petition On Eliminating Health Benefits For Same Sex Partners Of State Employees

(updated 12:30pm to add video from Attorney General Tom Horne)

One day after its major ruling striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the U.S. Supreme Court - with two brief words - struck down Arizona's law attempting to eliminate health benefits for same sex partners of state employees.

The Supreme Court denied the appeal (the writ of certiorari) from Governor Jan Brewer and Attorney General Tom Horne, refusing to review the opinion by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals finding that the 2009 law (reversing the Executive Order by then-Governor Janet Napolitano) violated the U.S. Constitution.

Brewer had taken a very vocal stand in favor of the state measure, and had deemed it to be a states' rights issue when she announced the appeal to the highest court in the land last year.  Arizona also argued that the law was not discriminatory because it also effected other groups when it redefined "dependents" to include "spouses" - a "domestic partner" not qualifying as a "spouse".

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne also went to the media to declare that he believed the Supreme Court would rule in his - Arizona's - favor, and noting that it was just one of the many cases he was bringing in the Arizona-vs-the-feds states' rights battle.


Here is the 9th Circuit opinion that the Court refused to review.  Arizona's appeal had also been supported by legal briefs (amici curiae) filed by the Center for Arizona Policy, the Eagle Forum, and several states (Indiana, Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Virginia)

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