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SCOTUS Snippets: Sotomayor's Teeth, More Utah, Upcoming Cases

By William Peacock, Esq. on January 10, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Another slow week for the Supremes, but on the bright side, the Nine returned to work today, holding their first conference since before the holidays.

According to SCOTUSblog, opinions and orders are expected early next week, so stay tuned. In the meantime, we have another update on Utah, where the Feds just made things even more confusing, we'll take a peek at next week's docket, and then, we'll talk teeth.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor's perfect teeth, to be exact.

Feds Will Recognize Utah Gay Marriages

On Wednesday, we recounted the confusion that has resulted from a district court striking down Utah's ban on same-sex marriages, the lower courts' refusal to issue a stay on the decision, and the Supreme Court's intervention, weeks later.

In short, there are a lot of couples that are now "married" in spirit, but not under Utah law, after Gov. Herbert announced that the state would not recognize marriages performed during the brief period of court-ordered legality.

This morning, Attorney General Eric Holder made things even more complicated by announcing that the federal government would recognize the marriages, reports The New York Times. 

That means, until the appeals are resolved, the 1,000 or so same-sex couples that were married are (a) married in spirit, (b) married under federal law, (c) can keep their new last names on their drivers' licenses, but (d) are not married under Utah law.

Docket Call

Next week, the court has seven cases scheduled for oral argument:

Tuesday, 1/13/14

  • Law v. Siegel (Ninth Circuit, Bankruptcy and Homesteading Rights)
  • National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning (D.C. Circuit, Recess Appointments)

Wednesday, 1/14/14

  • United States v. Quality Stores (Sixth Circuit, Taxation of Severance Payments)
  • Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States (Tenth Circuits, Reversionary Interest in Railroad Grants)
  • Executive Benefits Insurance Agency v. Arkison (Ninth Circuit, Bankruptcy Judges Deciding Non-Article III Matters)
Thursday, 1/15/14 
  • McCullen v. Coakley (First Circuit, Abortion Clinic Buffer Zone and Free Speech)
  • United States v. Castleman (Sixth Circuit, Firearm Possession and Domestic Violence)

Sotomayor's Smile

We'll end on a much happier note, specifically Justice Sonia Sotomayor's smile. The Washington Post relays the tale of her teeth, which were damaged by her mother's consumption of iron supplements.

A dentist approached Sotomayor and asked why she did not smile more. The two became close friends (Sotomayor is the godmother of the dentist's son) and today, after much treatment, the High Court jurist has perfect teeth. She advised listeners, in a speech at George Washington University, to be proactive about their self-image issues.

"So for those of you who have things that affect your self-image, there are things that can be done about it," she said.

"Those are the things you should look at, because those are the things that can help you feel better about yourself. And that really did help me. I started opening myself to other people."

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