Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


OLYMPIA…The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today granted the state’s request to expedite the state’s appeal of the preliminary injunction granted in federal court on Sept. 10, 2009. The injunction blocks the release of Referendum 71 petitions containing the names and addresses of those who signed the measure. The underlying case challenges the state’s public records law as an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment.

In filing the appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the state requested a stay of the injunction and expedited review of the case. Interveners in the case, the Washington Coalition for Open Government, also appealed the lower court ruling.

In an order issued today, the court consolidated the two appeals and set the following briefing schedule:

  • In anticipation of the court’s decision, the state filed itsopening briefon Friday, Sept. 18.
  • The Washington Coalition for Open Government’s brief is due Sept. 23.
  • The Plaintiff-Appellees’ answering brief is due Sept. 25.
  • The state may file a reply brief by Sept. 28.
  • The Washington Coalition for Open Government may file a reply brief by Sept. 30.

The court will hear oral argument at 11 a.m. on Oct. 14, 2009, at The Richard H. Chambers Courthouse in  Pasadena, Calif. Each side will be granted 15 minutes for oral argument with the state and the intervener sharing their 15 minutes.

Referendum 71 gives voters the opportunity to approve or reject a bill approved by the state Legislature granting state-registered same-sex and senior domestic partners the same rights, responsibilities and obligations afforded to married spouses without recognizing a domestic partnership as a marriage.

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