Issue: Whether the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ignored this Court’s precedent and erred in holding that Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) Section 38-651(O) (Section O) violates the Equal Protection Clause by limiting healthcare benefits to state employees’ spouses and dependents – and thus not extending such benefits to state employees’ domestic partners – given that a) Section O is facially neutral and there is no evidence that the Legislature intended to discriminate based on sexual
orientation; b) Section O furthers the State’s interests
in promoting marriage while also eliminating the additional expense and administrative burdens involved in providing healthcare benefits to state employees’ domestic partners; and c) the court’s reason for finding that Section O discriminates against gay and lesbian state employees was that Arizona prohibits same-sex marriage.
On Monday the Court issued orders from its December 6 Conference. (As Lyle reported the Court granted one new case from that Conference on Friday afternoon.) On Tuesday the Court issued one opinion and one dismissal. On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., we expect one or more opinions in argued cases. We will begin live blogging at 9:45. This is the second week of the December sitting; the hearing list for this sitting is here.