SC

Attorney In SC Gay Marriage Suit Was Federal Judge’s Ex-Law Partner

CONFLICT OF INTEREST?  By FITSNEWS || One of the plaintiff’s lawyers in South Carolina’s landmark gay marriage ruling was the former law partner of the federal judge who ruled in her favor – raising additional questions as to what motivated the judge to take the case in the first place. Malissa…

CONFLICT OF INTEREST? 

By FITSNEWS || One of the plaintiff’s lawyers in South Carolina’s landmark gay marriage ruling was the former law partner of the federal judge who ruled in her favor – raising additional questions as to what motivated the judge to take the case in the first place.

Malissa Burnette – one of the attorneys who argued against South Carolina’s 2006 gay marriage ban in the controversial Condon v. Haley case – previously partnered for years with U.S. District Court judge Richard Gergel.

Gergel, of course, is the liberal judge who will go into the history books as having struck down South Carolina’s ban on same sex marriages – beating another judge’s ruling by a few days (and an expected ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court by several months).

While attorneys arguing cases before judges they used to work with is by no means uncommon (or unethical), it is interesting given the extent to which Gergel appears to have gone out of his way to strip this issue away from another district court judge, one who was on the verge of deciding a separate challenge to the state’s gay marriage ban.

Both judges ultimately ruled (correctly, in our opinion) that states have no right to ban gay marriage – although Gergel’s ruling preempted a decision from fellow district court judge Michelle Childs, part of an alleged schism within the LGBT community over how best to pursue the issue.

We’re not questioning whether Gergel’s ruling was correct … nor are we accusing Burnette of doing anything improper.

Our question is whether the Condon case should have been folded into the original challenge to the state’s gay marriage ban – and whether the plaintiffs who brought the second case truthfully answered a series of questions that led to Gergel’s decision to hear their complaint.

Again, we have always believed marriage is an institution of the church – and always argued individual congregations ought to decide whether to marry couples (gay or straight).  As for civil unions, we believe the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment compels government to acknowledge homosexual, heterosexual or plural unions.

But marriage – gay, straight or plural – needs no validation from government.  In fact if the flurry of conflicting federal court rulings on this issue have proven anything, it’s that government is a piss poor arbiter of this issue.

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21 comments

cuvinny December 4, 2014 at 1:53 pm

The anti equal rights crowd is getting desperate if this is the best argument they can come up with

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Snoop Dog December 4, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Pfft!!!!! …. ROFLMFAO!!!! (cuvinny must be an escaped mental patient).

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Moderationforajustworld December 4, 2014 at 3:09 pm

Yep! They don’t seem to realize that based upon their reasoning, they should be crying wolf in virtually all cases before the Supreme Court, since those who most commonly advocate before the Supreme Court were clerks to current Supreme Court justices….

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No Fool You Tool December 4, 2014 at 1:56 pm

“We’re not questioning whether Gergel’s ruling was correct … nor are we accusing Burnette of doing anything improper.”

Then what is the purpose of your sub headline?

This is simply more of your BS innuendo.

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Bad Lawyers and Judges December 4, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Ban news for this lawyer and Judge. Very bad, indeed. Serious conflict of interest.

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Yep! December 4, 2014 at 2:38 pm

Yep, regardless of anyone’s feelings on the issue of gov’t banning gay marriage, the fact that neither recused themselves when they obviously should have is yet another sad statement on the “justus” system.

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Lets Laugh December 4, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Q: How do 5 gay men walk?
A: One Direction!

Q: What do you call a gay drive by?
A: “a fruit roll up.”

Q: Why can’t gays drive faster than 68mph?
A: Because at 69 they blow a rod.

Q: What do you call a gay cowboy?
A: A Jolly Rancher!

Q: What does a homo say to another gay going on vacation?
A: Can I help you pack your shit?

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9" December 4, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Q: What’s the difference between a straight man and a vibrator?
A: The vibrator lasts more than 5 minutes.

Q: Why are hetero women always left unsatisfied?
A: Straight men never ask for directions to the G-spot.

Q: How many straight men does it take to bring out the trash?
A: One man and his wife to bitch at him for an entire week to do it.

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Crooner December 4, 2014 at 4:03 pm

My favorite is:
Q: How do you know if your roommate is gay?
A: His dick tastes like shit.

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GrandTango December 4, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Just shows the GOP must purge the corruption that saturates our government. Then fumigate.

Shortly after FITS got elected w King Sanford..he divulged that he’d just as soon work for dangerous Democrat jim hodges.

We’ll not begin to clean up this mess til we mutilate the filth that owns our offices and courts.

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Smirks December 4, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Purge the corruption? You cheerlead for it on a daily basis.

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TSIB December 4, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Stop flogging this non-story. Your attempts to frame it as a scandal are laughable.

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Smirks December 4, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Who cares? The higher courts already scoffed at Wilson, this is dead and buried as it is.

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Gen. Ackbar December 4, 2014 at 2:32 pm

It’s a trap!

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Sparky December 4, 2014 at 2:43 pm

The correct term for religions is Holy Matrimony, according to the Sacraments.
Marriage is a Legal term to which churches have no jurisdiction

Yes, I know we are all slopy in our use of the term marriage. Hence go check yoir sacraments for the correct terminolgy. I think it will also clarify where religion has jurisdiction.

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9" December 4, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Give up.Fits doesn’t get it.

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9" December 4, 2014 at 2:50 pm

People in SC’s legal community have worked together before? That’s unbelievable!

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ThreePalms December 4, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Landmark ruling? How so? This case was just like the dozen or so that had been been decided recently. The fourth circuit court had already made our amendment moot. Even the Roberts court had rejected appeals. Just because Attorney General, and state pin head, Wilson chose to waste state resources to go to court and appeal in order to garner support for his next statewide race, does not make this a landmark ruling. It is more akin to tilting at windmills with other people’s money.

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Bill December 4, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Total BS story. Almost every judge practiced law at some point. His former partners are not banned from having cases before him. He must recuse himself if he represented one of the litigants in a case, but there is no conflict of interest just because a litigant is represented by a former partner. Note the word “former.” This is just stupid.

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Smart Rich Attorney December 5, 2014 at 7:08 pm

Idiotic story by non-lawyer who doesn’t understand conflict of interest rules.

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Tired and Retired December 5, 2014 at 8:49 pm

Unless the judge is sharing in the profits of the lawyer’s present firm [highly unlikely], there is no conflict of interest.

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