Texas Supreme Court Throws Out Ruling That Gave Gay Couples Same Benefits As Opposite-Sex Couples

WarHeadz

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In direct defiance of a US Supreme Court ruling, the Texas Supreme Court took it upon itself to decide that same sex spouses are inferior and not worthy of the same benefits as opposite sex spouses of public employees. This is sure to go back to the Supreme Court, and hopefully knowing this case is coming will help convince Kennedy to stick around.

Seriously, it's 2017, how is this crap still happening? It's just plain cruel and vindictive. Ken Paxton may as well just say "haha, sucks for you f*gs"


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zin

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Quickly read parts of the actual court opinion. The case was remanded to the trial court. The Texas Supreme Court has not stated that Obergefell does or does not require equal access to public benefits (it actually says in the opinion that the Court declines to instruct the trial court to interpret Obergefell one way or another). The Court remanded it to the trial court because neither side has had their chance to put forward an argument. The Mayor has not opposed the view that the Constitution does not require equal access to the benefits and the petitioners have not put forward their argument consistent with this view.

Relax... seems more procedural than vindictive.
 
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WarHeadz

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Quickly read parts of the actual court opinion. The case was remanded to the trial court. The Texas Supreme Court has not stated that Obergefell does or does not require equal access to public benefits (it actually says in the opinion that the Court declines to instruct the trial court to interpret Obergefell one way or another). The Court remanded it to the trial court because neither side has had their chance to put forward an argument. The Mayor has not opposed the view that the Constitution does not require equal access to the benefits and the petitioners have not put forward their argument consistent with this view.

Relax... seems more procedural than vindictive.
The lower court already ruled against the state. Why would they send it back?
 

rjohnstone

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Quickly read parts of the actual court opinion. The case was remanded to the trial court. The Texas Supreme Court has not stated that Obergefell does or does not require equal access to public benefits (it actually says in the opinion that the Court declines to instruct the trial court to interpret Obergefell one way or another). The Court remanded it to the trial court because neither side has had their chance to put forward an argument. The Mayor has not opposed the view that the Constitution does not require equal access to the benefits and the petitioners have not put forward their argument consistent with this view.

Relax... seems more procedural than vindictive.
Exactly... the court did not rule on the case itself. Only the procedural aspects.
They fact is the original trial has yet to take place, so the Texas Supreme Court has no ability to make a final ruling.
They merely reversed the temporary injunction set out by the trial court.


We reverse the court of appeals’ judgment, vacate the
trial court’s orders, and remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with our opinion and judgment.
[doublepost=1498859179][/doublepost]
The lower court already ruled against the state. Why would they send it back?
No.. they didn't. They simply issued an injunction util the case went to trial.
Here's the actual ruling... https://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/legal-docs/tx_20170630_pidgeon-decision
 

WarHeadz

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rjohnstone

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And it did go to trial. The Texas Supreme Court could have settled this issue right then and there. Especially because it's so cut and dry. They chose to kick the can back to the lower court, meanwhile those affected families continue to have issues.
No.. they legally couldn't decide the case due to the fact that the trial case was not fully resolved.
They had no choice but to send it back.
The purpose of the hearing was to resolve the grounds on which the case is to be heard since the SCOTUS ruling regarding same sex marriage came during the course of the trial.
It basically changed the rules on how the trial could proceed.
 

WarHeadz

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No.. they legally couldn't decide the case due to the fact that the trial case was not fully resolved.
They had no choice but to send it back.
The purpose of the hearing was to resolve the grounds on which the case is to be heard since the SCOTUS ruling regarding same sex marriage came during the course of the trial.
It basically changed the rules on how the trial could proceed.
Where is this all coming from? According to the quote from Texas Tribune...

The decision by the Texas Supreme Court to take up the case was regarded as an unusual move because it had previously declined to take it up last year. That allowed the lower court decision to stand.


But the state’s highest civil court reversed course in January after receiving an outpouring of letters opposing the decision. They also faced pressure from Texas GOP leadership — spearheaded by Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton — who asked the court to clarify that Obergefell does not include a “command” to public employers regarding employee benefits.
 

Carnegie

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Obergefell v Hodges may not have definitively resolved this matter (though that's being generous to Mr. Pidgeon and Mr. Hick's argument), but Pavan v Smith - decided by the Supreme Court this past Monday - sure as heck did.

The Supreme Court of Texas may be right on some of the technical issues and what I'll refer to as its procedural rulings. But its instructions on remand are lacking - in the sense that they seem to be trying hard to pretend that Pavan didn't say what it said - to the point that I'd describe them as willfully disregarding Supreme Court precedent.

While I was reading the opinion I was thinking that this decision must have been handed down before Pavan was, i.e. before this week. (Most appeals courts opinions list the decision date in the beginning. This decision lists only the argument date in the beginning, the decision date isn't given until the end. I'm guessing that's how the Supreme Court of Texas normally does it.) But the Pavan decision was mentioned in the conclusion. For all intents and purposes, however, what that decision said was ignored.

Pavan makes it clear that Obergefell requires that states "provide same-sex couples the 'constellation of benefits that the States have linked to marriage.'" In other words, Obergefell does more than just require that states allow same-sex couples to marry and recognize their marriages just as they do opposite-sex marriages. It requires that same-sex spouses be treated, in all plausible respects, the same under state law as opposite-sex spouses are - at least, when it comes to benefits which they might receive from the state.

Pavan v Smith (2017)


EDIT: I meant to add that Pavan was a summary reversal. The Supreme Court didn't even think it needed to take briefing and hear oral argument, though there were 3 dissenters.
 
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Carnegie

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No.. they legally couldn't decide the case due to the fact that the trial case was not fully resolved.
They had no choice but to send it back.
The purpose of the hearing was to resolve the grounds on which the case is to be heard since the SCOTUS ruling regarding same sex marriage came during the course of the trial.
It basically changed the rules on how the trial could proceed.
The problem with this decision isn't that the case was remanded. Both sides agreed that the case should be remanded. The problem is the instructions on remand that the Supreme Court of Texas gave. It pretended that Pavan doesn't settle the core legal question.
 
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rjohnstone

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Obergefell v Hodges may not have definitively resolved this matter (though that's being generous to Mr. Pidgeon and Mr. Hick's argument), but Pavan v Smith - decided by the Supreme Court this past Monday - sure as heck did.

The Supreme Court of Texas may be right on some of the technical issues and what I'll refer to as its procedural rulings. But its instructions on remand are lacking - in the sense that they seem to be trying hard to pretend that Pavan didn't say what it said - to the point that I'd describe them as willfully disregarding Supreme Court precedent.

While I was reading the opinion I was thinking that this decision must have been handed down before Pavan was, i.e. before this week. (Most appeals courts opinions list the decision date in the beginning. This decision lists only the argument date in the beginning, the decision date isn't given until the end. I'm guessing that's how the Supreme Court of Texas normally does it.) But the Pavan decision was mentioned in the conclusion. For all intents and purposes, however, what that decision said was ignored.

Pavan makes it clear that Obergefell requires that states "provide same-sex couples the 'constellation of benefits that the States have linked to marriage.'" In other words, Obergefell does more than just require that states allow same-sex couples to marry and recognize their marriages just as they do opposite-sex marriages. It requires that same-sex spouses be treated, in all plausible respects, the same under state law as opposite-sex spouses are - at least, when it comes to benefits which they might receive from the state.

Pavan v Smith (2017)
Exactly... but the Texas Supreme Court clearly stated they were not seeking to create definitions of law where SCOTUS did not clearly articulate in the Obergfell ruling.
Pavan does expand on the SCOTUS ruling, but it is a logical expansion and should be applied to Pidgeon.

Basically they chickened out in the remand instructions.
I have a feeling they'll be revisiting this one again.