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Supreme Court Declined to Hear 'Sister Wives' Polygamy case

Date: Feb 01, 2017
Word Count: 650 words
Cross-Reference: Sister Wives, Supreme Court, Brown v Buhman

SCOTUS denied even hearing the Brown v. Buhman petition, letting the appeals court's reversal stand, not even hearing any of the pro-polygamy merits, and bringing the whole issue back to the status quo.

SCOTUS denied even hearing the Brown v. Buhman petition, letting the appeals court's reversal stand, not even hearing any of the pro-polygamy merits, and bringing the whole issue back to the status quo.

It's   official.     The   Supreme   Court   of   the   United   States   (SCOTUS)   wasted   its   historic   opportunity   to   re-address   the   unconstitutionality   of   anti-polygamy   laws.     On   January   23,   2017,   SCOTUS   officially   declined   to   hear   the   "Sister   Wives"   polygamy   case,   Brown   v.   Buhman.     Worse,   the   final   steps   of   this   case   were   not   even   decided   based   "on   the   merits"   of   any   pro-polygamy   arguments   whatsoever. 
When   the   Tenth   Circuit   Court   (the   last   court   before   the   Supreme   Court)   reversed   the   lower   District   Court's   decision,   it   was,   as   the   National   Polygamy   Advocate   ™   Mark   Henkel   told   FOX-TV   10,   "not   reversed   on   the   merits   of   any   arguments   whatsoever.   They   refused   to   hear   any   arguments   at   all." 
That   was   more   than   unfortunate.     The   lower   District   Court   had   accurately   decided   that   the   specific   wording   of   Utah's   1973   anti-bigamy   act   was,   in   fact,   unconstitutional.     Accordingly,   that   lower   court   struck   down   the   "cohabits"   clause   and   re-defined   the   "purports"   clause   to   only   apply   to   legally   licensed   marriages.     As   observed   from   numerous   media   interviews   with   National   Polygamy   Advocate   ™   Mark   Henkel,   most   people   -   even   non-polygamists   -   found   that   lower   court's   decision   to   be   so   reasonable   that   they   had   previously,   actually,   but   mistakenly   thought   that   that   was   "already"   the   way   the   current   law   worked. 
But   no.   Instead   of   affirming   that   popularly   reasonable   de-criminalization   of   "de   facto   polygamy"   (i.e.,   plural   marriage   with   only   one   legal   marriage   license   involved),   the   next   court,   the   Tenth   Circuit   Court   of   Appeals   in   Denver,   Colorado,   reversed   it. 
In   his   lamenting   report   after   the   SCOTUS   denial,   the   Brown   family's   attorney,   Jonathan   Turley,   detailed   how   this   reversal   occurred: 
"The   Tenth   Circuit   did   not   reach   any   of   the   constitutional   violations   of   religious   freedom,   equal   protection,   due   process,   or   free   speech.   Instead,   it   ruled   that   the   district   court   should   have   dismissed   the   case   after   Buhman   announced,   in   the   middle   of   litigation,   that   he   no   longer   intended   to   prosecute   the   Browns   and   others   similarly   situated.   Even   though   Buhman   continued   to   defend   the   statute's   constitutionality,   the   panel   said   that   it   would   not   consider   his   timing   and   motives   in   issuing   this   new   ‘policy'   change,   expressly   concluding   that   ‘it   does   not   matter   [if]   the   prosecutor   ruled   out   prosecution   because   he   wished   to   prevent   adjudication   of   the   federal   claim   on   the   merits.'   The   panel   acknowledged   that   a   future   County   Attorney   could   change   this   policy   at   will,   but   ruled   that   this   possibility   too   was   insufficient   to   defeat   mootness." 
SCOTUS's   refusal   to   hear   this   Brown   v.   Buhman   case   lets   the   Tenth   Circuit   Court's   reversal   stand.     This   end-result   should,   therefore,   terrify   -   if   not   horrify   -   every   liberty-loving   citizen   in   America,   regardless   of   one's   support   of   or   opposition   to   polygamy   itself. 
Consequently,   unconstitutional   law   may   remain   on   the   books.     Prosecutors   may   still   use   it   to   threaten   to   jail   otherwise   law-abiding   citizens   and   families.     Such   threatened   families   may   attempt   to   bring   a   lawsuit   against   those   prosecutor   threats   to   use   the   law   to   jail   the   families.     Prosecutors,   even   after   failing   to   get   a   court   to   dismiss   such   a   lawsuit,   may   still   use   the   tyranny   of   "prosecutorial   discretion"   to   declare   their   invention   of   any   new   "policy"   to   supposedly   "not"   pursue   charges   against   that   specific   family.      
The   result   is   outright   tyranny.    
What   hope   do   any   everyday   citizens   have   for   successfully   bringing   valid   lawsuits   against   any   bad   law   when   prosecutors   are   hereby   allowed   the   unconstitutional   excess-authority   of   "prosecutorial   discretion"   to   after-the-fact   and   unilaterally   moot   the   "standing"   of   such   suit-filing   citizens   of   their   choosing? 
To   be   clear,   the   result   of   Brown   v.   Buhman   is   most   definitely   not   an   example   of   the   Supreme   Court   affirming   any   would-be   "constitutionality"   of   anti-polygamy   laws.     Any   anti-polygamists   who   assert   that   falsehood   must   only   be   recognized   as   propagandizing   an   overt   lie. 
Factually,   with   its   order   on   January   23,   2017,   SCOTUS   refused   to   even   hear   Brown   v.   Buhman   "on   its   merits."     Rather   than   hear   a   historic   case   about   unrelated   consenting   adult   polygamy   (UCAP),   the   Supreme   Court   has   instead   allowed   the   tyranny   of   unrestrained   power   for   prosecutors   to   retain   any   provably-bad   law   –   even   beyond   any   anti-polygamy   laws   too. 


Bibliographic URLs:

SUPREME COURT - Brown v. Buhman 
Will Supreme Court Hear 'Sister Wives' Polygamy case in 2017? 
* BREAKING NEWS * 10th Circuit Reverses "Sister Wives" case 
Mark Henkel on FOX 10 Phoenix - 5-24-2016 - Polygamy 
'De Facto' Polygamy De-Criminalized in Utah by Federal Court 
Mark Henkel giving radio interviews 
Jonathan Turley: Supreme Court Turns Down Sister Wives Petition 
SCOTUS to Conference on "Sister Wives" case on Obama's Last Day 
"Prosecutorial Discretion," Emailgate, and Polygamy – Part 1 
[Reviewed for publication - Review Board.] 

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