Bill Schuette denied request for full appeals court review in same-sex marriage case

After mounting what can only be called a lackluster and embarrassing defense of Michigan’s bigoted ban on same-sex marriage last month, Attorney General Bill Schuette was handed a stunning defeat as the federal judge overseeing the case struck down the ban as unconstitutional. Schuette then appealed the ruling and asked for the appeals court to meet “en banc” to rule on the appeal. This would entail all 29 6th Circuit Court of Appeals judges deciding the appeal rather than the normal three-judge panel. Schuette argued this was a more efficient use of tax payer money, an ironic statement given how much of our tax money he has wasted fighting to preserve this abhorrent law already.

Yesterday, the Court ruled against him.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has denied Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s motion to have a full bench hear his appeal in Michigan’s landmark gay marriage case.

Schuette had petitioned for an “en banc” hearing — which means full bench — instead of the standard three-judge panel, but the court determined Monday evening that no judge “favored” the suggestion and denied the petition. […]

[Schuette had argued that a]ddressing this case initially en banc will also promote the swift and efficient resolution of this issue. If this case is decided first by a panel, then the losing party may well seek en banc review. Further, even if that decision controls the decisions of other panels deciding the cases arising out of the other three States, a later panel might disagree with the prior decision, which in turn could lead to en banc review. And the losing parties in the later-decided cases may also seek en banc review.


Schuette likely wanted to speed up a decision on this case rather than having it weigh over him in the middle of an election. If he were to win, he’d have a major victory to boast about on the campaign trail. If he lost, he could portray himself as fighting for the voters — homophobic voters, of course — in the Supreme Court of the United States, giving a him a LOT of media attention.

He was denied both and this case will outlast his tenure as AG should he be defeated in November.

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  • judyms9

    Wondering if Schuette’s judgment and legal skills are inadequate to the demands of the AG position, independent of his political positions.

  • Nancy Katz

    I don’t think that Shuette is/was interested in a speedy disposition, but rather to increase the likelihood of conservative judges who would hear the case. A 3 judge panel is randomly picked from all judges, so it’s the luck of the draw as to whether conservative or liberal judges would hear the case. But if they heard the case en banc, they would be assured of a conservative/republican majority.

    • http://eclectablog.com Eclectablog

      That’s a fine point and probably played a major role.

  • willfixit

    Schuette does “for Schuette”; it has no actual link to the real world.
    A perfect example has been his opposition to the MMMA laws which had a much larger voter approval base than this issue.
    Hopefully voters on both sides of “life” will recognize this in November.

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