Lawyer Seeks to Uphold Ban on Same-Sex Marriage @ SCOTUS
Next week, a Michigan lawyer from a mid-sized law firm will be arguing the much-anticipated same-sex marriage case for the State of Michigan. Attorney John J. Bursch, now a partner at Warner Norcross & Judd, will present the state's arguments as the respondent in the DeBoer case. He will not do so on behalf of his law firm, however, as they declined to take the case. Mr. Bursch will appear as a Special Assistant Attorney General.
Let's not forget that a brief time ago, Bursch was the Solicitor General of the State of Michigan, serving as Attorney General Bill Schuette's litigator-in-chief. In this position, he argued 8 times before the SCOTUS in two short years and has been before the Michigan Supreme Court no less than 17 times.
Then he moved-on to private practice where he is the co-chair of Warner Norcross' appellate section. Bursch is the principal author of the Michigan Supreme Court publication Guide for Counsel and a chapter author of the Michigan Appellate Handbook. We should also mention his law firm's excellent law blog, One Court of Justice, to which Bursch, no doubt, makes regular weighty contributions for the firm.
When he takes the podium to face the 9 justices in the same-sex marriage and adoption case, he joins historic luminaries such as John Adams [who represented British soldiers accused of murder] Clarence Darrow [who also represented unpopular murderers of his day], John W. Davis [also prolific before the SCOTUS, and who argued in favor of segregated schools] and Paul D. Clement [who lost the same-sex Windsor case in 2012] by arguing a position most legal scholars believe is not on the right side of history.
In so championing the same-sex marriage ban, Bursch may not have the backing of his law firm, but he does have some intellectual reinforcements. A near record 64 amicus briefs have been filed in support of banning same-sex marriage.
After the oral arguments next Tuesday morning, a decision in the landmark case is expected toward the end of June. If past practice is any guide, the justices, some of whom are expected to write separately in what may become a "plurality" decision, will work on their separate opinions right up to the wire, releasing the opinion(s) just before the conclusion of the Court's session.