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'Chemical Weapons,' Same Sex Marriage, and Court Nominations

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on June 13, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

We apologize for the brief interlude between posts, but we are back and ready to update you on the goings-on in the Third Circuit. The Supreme Court reversed a Third Circuit's opinion in a case that reads like a Lifetime made-for-television movie. Not to be outdone by the Supreme Court, a Pennsylvania county clerk is stirring up more trouble in the same sex marriage scenario.

In less dramatic news (hopefully), Delaware is on its way to getting a new judge on its Supreme Court.

Bond v. United States

As the saying goes, "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned," and Myrlinda Hayes almost learned that the hard way. After Carol Bond learned that Hayes was having an affair with her husband, she spread toxic chemicals on Hayes' door knob, car and mailbox hoping Hayes would develop a rash. Instead, Hayes developed minor chemical burns that were easily treated with water. In a case of complete over-reaction, federal authorities charged Bond with violating an act implementing a chemical weapons treaty ("Act").

Justice Roberts gave us a hint of where he was going with the opinion, when opened with a reference to John Singer Sargent's 1919 painting, "Gassed." He went on to hold that the Act was not intended to cover local assaults, stating, "The Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act contains no such clear indication, and we accordingly conclude that it does not cover the unremarkable local offense at issue here."

Pennsylvania Same Sex Marriage

Last month, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett released a statement saying that he would not appeal the district court's decision striking down Pennsylvania's "mini-DOMA" -- effectively striking down the state's ban on same sex marriage. One county clerk, Theresa Santai-Gaffney, picked up where the Governor left off -- on June 6, she filed a motion in district court to intervene, reports The Standard Speaker.

She stated, "The people of Pennsylvania deserve to hear from the court of appeals on this important issue because a single judge should not be able to nullify the will of the majority without an appeal." We're waiting to see how the judge will rule, but we're not optimistic for her.

Delaware Supreme Court Nomination

Delaware Governor Markell nominated Karen Valihura to the Delaware Supreme Court earlier this month. A partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom, LLP, Governor Markell stated, "Karen Valihura is an attorney of uncommon skill, intelligence, and integrity who has earned a well-deserved reputation for excellence in her 25 years in private practice." She is awaiting Delaware Senate confirmation.

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