In the interest of keeping everyone informed about what’s going on, I pass along this tidbit from State House News:
In a decision handed down less than four hours after the hearing, Supreme Judicial Court Judith Cowin forwarded to the full seven-member court a lawsuit demanding that Senate President Robert Travaglini call a vote on a gay marriage ballot initiative or forcing Secretary of State William Galvin to put the amendment on the 2008 ballot. A hearing for arguments is set for December 20 at 9 am. In her decision, the plaintiffs, who include Gov. Mitt Romney and former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn, are required to submit briefs by Friday, December 8, and both the plaintiffs and defendants have to file an “agreed statement of facts” the same day. The defendants, represented by the attorney general’s office, have their brief due on Monday, December 18. At the hearing before Cowin this morning, both sides said they were willing to go before the full court, but differed on the timing. The plaintiffs want action before January 1, a day before the Legislature resumes its Constitutional Convention, while the defendants preferred sometime next spring. “The defendants have no objection to such an approach and are willing to begin working with plaintiffs on a statement of agreed facts and an agreed-upon briefing schedule allowing argument to the full Court sometime in the Spring of 2007,” Assistant Attorney General Peter Sacks yesterday wrote in a letter to the SJC. Story Developing
UPDATE (by David): The AG’s office is arguing that the claims against Trav (requiring the joint session to do something) should be dismissed based on the term limits case, and is suggesting that an expedited schedule is unnecessary, since if the only relief on the table is to advance the amendment directly to the ballot, that only has to be resolved before the fall of 2008, so there’s plenty of time. Here’s part of the letter, which was filed yesterday:
As counsel for the defendants in the above-captioned matter, I write in advance of tomorrow’s scheduled hearing to call the Court’s attention to the decision in LIMITS v. President of the Senate, 414 Mass. 31 (1992) which is dispositive of plaintiff’s claims herein against the defendant President of the Senate and which makes expedited proceedings on those claims unnecessary.
Also, for you law junkies, you can follow the progress of the health care amendment suit here.