New York Times reporter Jack Healy wrote an interesting article about federal judge Robert J. Shelby, who authored the opinion that led to marriage equality in Utah. He has been criticized by the state GOP, including Gov. Gary R. Herbert who called him an “activist federal judge.” This is interesting and historical revisionism, considering that Repuicans of all stripes in Utah previously loved Shelby. According to the NYT:
He had been a combat engineer in the Persian Gulf conflict and was, according to state voter records, a registered Republican. Senator Orrin G. Hatch, a seven-term Utah Republican, recommended him for a federal judgeship, calling him an experienced lawyer “with an unwavering commitment to the law.” Senator Mike Lee, a Tea Party Republican, said that Mr. Shelby was “pre-eminently qualified” and predicted he would be an outstanding judge.
Now, less than two years since he joined the bench, the same-sex marriage case has transformed Judge Shelby into a hero for hundreds of newlywed gay couples and an object of derision for many social conservatives who supported Utah’s 2004 ban on such unions…state lawyers are already trying to have higher courts roll back his decision, potentially undoing as many as 900 new same-sex marriages.
Talk about fair-weather friends! Additionally, so-called fiscally conservative Republicans in Utah are prepared to trash taxpayer money to support bigotry. Accoring to KSL.com in Utah:
The price tag for hiring outside counsel to defend Utah’s voter-approved constitutional amendment on marriage is expected to be close to $2 million, money that key GOP lawmakers are willing to spend.“We need the best we can get,” House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, said after a House GOP leadership meeting Friday with newly named Attorney General Sean Reyes.