[JURIST] Leading Wednesday's states brief, the California Supreme Court [official website] held today without comment that it will not immediately review a March ruling [JURIST report] that declared the state ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. In that ruling, Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer wrote, "It appears that no rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite-sex partners." The appeal will now be heard by the 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco. Opponents of gay marriage are attempting to qualify a constitutional amendment [JURIST report] to ban gay marriage for next year's ballot. AP has more.
In other state legal news ...
- The US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday upheld a Virginia law [text] requiring public schools to lead a daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. In the opinion [PDF text], Judge Karen Williams wrote, "Undoubtedly, the pledge contains a religious phrase, and it is demeaning to persons of any religions to assert that the words 'under God' contain no religious significance. The inclusion of those two words, however, does not alter the pledge as a patriotic activity." A father of three children had claimed the phrase "one nation under God" was an unconstitutional promotion of religion. AP has more.
- As reported earlier today in JURIST's Paper Chase, a California appeals court has refused [PDF text] to place Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's redistricting plan on the November ballot because the use of two different versions during the certification process was a "clear violation of the constitutional and statutory procedures for the circulation of an initiative petition." The court stated that "The proponents caused the problem in this case by their own negligence in circulating a different version of the initiative measure than that submitted to the attorney general." Proposition 77 [PDF text] seeks to remove the power to draw congressional and legislative boundaries from state lawmakers and to place that power with a panel of retired judges. California Attorney General Bill Lockyer [official website] said the ruling "is important for California voters because it protects the integrity of the initiative process." The decision, which will be appealed, affirmed a Superior Court ruling that removed the proposition from the ballot [JURIST report]. CNN has more.
- The Maryland Supreme Court has ruled [PDF text] that mortgage brokers who charge consumer fees for handling mortgage and refinance loans are subject to the state's Finder's Fee Law. The court found that the state law [text], which sets limits on such fees, was not preempted by federal law because mortgage brokers are outside the reach of the federal statute. The decision reversed a lower court ruling. The Baltimore Sun has local coverage.