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A question for consiglieri/Radio Free Mormon
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Author:  Aristotle Smith [ Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:10 pm ]
Post subject:  A question for consiglieri/Radio Free Mormon

First, thank you for making a truly interesting podcast. You obviously put a lot of time and effort into your work. I also want to congratulate you on making a truly unique Mormon podcast. Your topics and your takes on them really break the mold; I don't see anyone doing things the way you do them.

I recently listened to your "SPECIAL EPISODE: The Backdrop and Context of The Family: A Proclamation to the World". I had no idea about all of the political background to the proclamation. I think you guys made a very convincing case that the proclamation was mostly, if not entirely, a political convenience and not a revelation from God.

However, I was left with some questions which I was hoping you could answer. You make a convincing argument that the overriding goal behind the proclamation was to enable the LDS church to file amicus curiae briefs in the Hawaii SSM case. But, why did the LDS church take such an interest in filing this brief?

Are amicus curiae briefs that influential? From a layman's/non-lawyer perspective I would think that the arguments made by the parties involved in the case would be much more determinative of any final ruling, thus making amicus curiae briefs not that important, legally speaking.

Also, what was the LDS church hoping to gain by filing these briefs? It's not like the LDS church has ever floated a single argument against SSM that was not put forward first by Catholic and Protestant groups and persons. And, those groups don't have the polygamous past to undercut their arguments. Since there wasn't every anything uniquely Mormon put forward in the argumentation, why bother in the first place?

Author:  Res Ipsa [ Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A question for consiglieri/Radio Free Mormon

Aristotle, I think the effectiveness of amicus briefs really depends on the case. The parties to the case have page limits that can often make it difficult to adequately lay out the broader ramifications of the appeal. A well-written amicus brief can do that much more effectively. From time to time the court will address an amicus brief in its opinion, so the court gives them some consideration.

I haven’t read the amicus briefs in this particular case, so I don’t know whether the LDS church brought anything new to the table.

Author:  cwald [ Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A question for consiglieri/Radio Free Mormon

Hey, not trying to derail, but just want to add I have really enjoyed Radio Free Mormon lately. The Lies and Brother Bishop episodes were really good. Not a fan of Bill's Mormondiscussion podcasts necessarily because the topics bore me so I quit listening, but kind of like what you are doing as of late. Thanks.

Author:  Jason Bourne [ Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A question for consiglieri/Radio Free Mormon

I did not know Consig has a podcast. I just subscribed. Looking forward to listening in.

Author:  Tavares Standfield [ Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A question for consiglieri/Radio Free Mormon

Aristotle Smith wrote:
First, thank you for making a truly interesting podcast. You obviously put a lot of time and effort into your work.


RFM doesn't hold a candle to Mormon Stories.

Author:  RockSlider [ Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A question for consiglieri/Radio Free Mormon

Jason Bourne wrote:
I did not know Consig has a podcast. I just subscribed. Looking forward to listening in.

You should take the time to listen to all of them. Excellence.

Author:  Tuna_Surprise [ Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A question for consiglieri/Radio Free Mormon

Aristotle Smith wrote:

Also, what was the LDS church hoping to gain by filing these briefs? It's not like the LDS church has ever floated a single argument against SSM that was not put forward first by Catholic and Protestant groups and persons. And, those groups don't have the polygamous past to undercut their arguments. Since there wasn't every anything uniquely Mormon put forward in the argumentation, why bother in the first place?


Agreed that the church wouldn't advance any novel arguments, but the purpose of these amicus briefs would be to show strength in numbers. An appellate panel may have been persuaded by a simple equality claim, so to have a stack a mile deep of churches and other well-established institutions shrieking "but won't someone pleeeease think of the children" could influence the court by reminding them that other people are opposed to change.

So the court hears the case of the nice young gay couple who just wants to get married and thinks "oh, these guys are nice, let them get married" but then the amicus briefs are there to frighten them of the follow-on consequence of what happens if you let that one nice couple get married (the fabric of society falls apart).

Author:  consiglieri [ Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A question for consiglieri/Radio Free Mormon

Hi, Artistotle!

It looks like others have probably answered your question as well as I could have.

On the issue of why the church wanted to file an amicus brief in Hawaii, I think it is important to put it in historical context of the church fighting the gay marriage issue in every state of the union, which I believe they have done.

Mother Jones Magazine a while back published some internal memos from the church showing how detailed and coordinated their campaign has been, and how they have certain representatives or senators in a number of states who are LDS and who they use to try and advance the church's agenda.

The church seems to have seen it as part of their God-given mission to fight this at every level, and so I am not surprised they would seek to file amicus curae briefing in Hawaii.

There is also this idea in Mormonism that any contribution they can make to any subject is going to be superior to what others contribute simply because they are the one and only true church led by a prophet of God. The judges in Hawaii are sure to feel the spirit of what the contribute and perhaps that will be the deciding factor.

Those are the best ideas I can come up with in addition to the other good answers already suggested.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

Author:  toon [ Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A question for consiglieri/Radio Free Mormon

Res Ipsa wrote:
Aristotle, I think the effectiveness of amicus briefs really depends on the case. The parties to the case have page limits that can often make it difficult to adequately lay out the broader ramifications of the appeal. A well-written amicus brief can do that much more effectively. From time to time the court will address an amicus brief in its opinion, so the court gives them some consideration.

I haven’t read the amicus briefs in this particular case, so I don’t know whether the LDS church brought anything new to the table.


I agree with this. The effectiveness of an amicus brief will depend on the case and the forum.

As an example, there are generally two stages when a party petitions for cert before Supreme Court.

The first is the petition itself, and the primary issue is whether the Court should exercise its discretion and hear the case. While some of that involves the actual merits of the case, for the most part it's about the significance of the case and why the Court's intervention is necessary. Amici can often highlight issues with more weight than what the parties can, such as a perspective on or impact of the case that is unique to them. If nobody files and amicus brief in support of the petition, the Court might think that the case is not all that important or wide reaching. In this regard, counsel for the parties often think that input from amici can be more influential than anything the parties can bring.

The stage is the merits brief, once the petition has been granted. Again, amici have the ability to highlight issues that the parties cannot (space limitations aside), or at least the ability to do so with more credibility.

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