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10th Cir. News: The Latest on Polygamy and Horse Slaughter

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on December 20, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Tenth Circuit can be so fickle. There are days when there is nothing interesting going on, and then there are days like today, with some interesting cases to cover. With two cases getting national attention, we couldn't just pick one, so we'll give you a quick rundown of both.

First, we have an update on the horse slaughter case we discussed back in November, followed by news on polygamy and the meaning of marriage, courtesy of "Sister Wives."

Front Range Equine Rescue, et al. v. Vilsack, et al.

The background of this case can be confusing, but can be summarized as follows: animal rights groups sued USDA officials alleging violations of the National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA") and the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA") for failing to prepare an environmental impact statement ("EIS") or environmental assessment ("EA") before granting inspections of horse slaughter facilities. The district court dismissed the case, and the Tenth Circuit granted the animal protection groups' request for a temporary injunction, prohibiting the USDA from providing inspections to horse slaughter facilities.

Last week, the case was before the Tenth Circuit again, with the animal protection groups filing an emergency motion for an injunction pending the appeal of the district court's dismissal of their claim. Looking at the four factors for obtaining an injunction pending appeal, the court found that plaintiffs failed to meet any of the prongs of the test, and concluded that they "failed to meet their burden for an injunction pending appeal."

Brown v. Buhman

The Brown family at the center of the show "Sister Wives" sued Utah County's attorney alleging that Utah's bigamy statute was unconstitutional because it violated their due process and free exercise rights, reports CNN. In a 91-page opinion, Judge Clark Waddoups of the District of Utah struck down the statute's cohabitation provision as "unconstitutional on numerous grounds," but left the law "to remain in force as prohibiting bigamy in the literal sense." Appeals will undoubtedly follow, and we'll keep you posted.

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