Latta v. Otter

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: 10-15-2014
  • Case #: 14-35420; 14-35421
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Per Curiam: Circuit Judges Reinhardt, Gould, and Berzon
  • Full Text Opinion

A party seeking a stay “bears the burden of showing his entitlement to a stay,” and the court will consider “four factors: (1) whether the stay applicant has made a strong showing that he is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) whether the applicant will be irreparably injured absent a stay; (3) whether issuance of the stay will substantially injure the other parties interested in the proceeding; and (4) where the public interest lies.”

Plaintiffs moved for dissolution of the stay of the district court's order enjoining the enforcement of Idaho's laws prohibiting same-sex marriage on October 10, 2014. The Ninth Circuit decided the appeal in Latta v. Otter, and "held unconstitutional Idaho’s statutes and constitutional amendments preventing same-sex couples from marrying and refusing to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere." Based on the panel’s decision in Latta and “other recent decisions by circuit courts across the country in essentially identical cases, as well as the Supreme Court’s decisions on October 6, 2014 to deny certiorari in all pending same-sex marriage cases and thus to permit same-sex marriages in all affected states notwithstanding any state statute or constitutional provisions to the contrary, Governor Otter can no longer meet the test for the grant or continuation of a stay." The panel held that Otter was no longer entitled to a stay of the district court's order and dissolved the stay on the grounds that Otter did not meet the four factors necessary to carry the burden of proof required for grant of a stay of the district court's order. "The party seeking a stay—or continuation of a stay—bears the burden of showing his entitlement to a stay. . . . [The court] consider[s] four factors: (1) whether the stay applicant has made a strong showing that he is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) whether the applicant will be irreparably injured absent a stay; (3) whether issuance of the stay will substantially injure the other parties interested in the proceeding; and (4) where the public interest lies.” The panel decided to exercise its discretion and allow Otter a second chance to apply for a stay of the order from the Supreme Court "even though [the court saw] no possible basis for such a stay.”

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