Sutherland Newsletter – March 6, 2008

1.Interpreting Marriage

On Tuesday, March 4, the California supreme court heard three hours of arguments in a lawsuit challenging the state’s definition of marriage.  In an opinion-editorial published by National Review, William C. Duncan, director of the Marriage Law Foundation and Sutherland Institute adjunct fellow, writes that the stakes are high regarding this decision.



“The decision may well decide whether the nation’s most populous state will endorse the message that marriage is just an adult lifestyle choice. This is in contrast to an older understanding of marriage as a social institution meant to ensure that as many children as possible will have the opportunity to be raised by their mother and father in a setting where parents are committed to one another and to the children they create.”


2.LaVarr Webb Addresses Bloggers

LaVarr Webb, Deseret Morning News columnist and publisher of, addressed a group center/right bloggers on Wednesday, March 12, 2008.  Webb reviewed the recently-completed legislative session and offered observations about the upcoming election season. He noted the success of Democrats, especially in Utah County, to recruit quality candidates to oppose Republicans for the November elections.  Webb also gave an update of the UEA / PTA partnership with several liberal organizations to help get pro-public-ed state and county delegates for both parties elected for the upcoming convention cycle.


3.Sutherland Files Amicus Brief in Ysursa v. Pocatello Education Association Petition

Sutherland Institute has joined forces as an amicus with the Utah Taxpayers Association and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation in urging that the US Supreme Court grant Idaho’s Petition for Certiorari in the case of Ysursa v. Pocatello Education Association.




The Ysursa v. Pocatello Education Association case involves different courts ruling on voluntary contributions (paycheck protection).  Courts in Utah and Idaho have ruled that teachers are not state employees and therefore the teachers’ union can use the payroll system to automatically deduct contributions.  However, a federal circuit court in a similar Ohio case found the opposite.  The Idaho Attorney General has petitioned the United States Supreme Court to grant certiorari, which means accept jurisdiction, in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision so that the constitutional issues arising from paycheck protection legislation can be resolved nationwide.