Comments about ‘U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby a seasoned attorney, war veteran’

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Published: Monday, Dec. 23 2013 6:35 p.m. MST

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Provo, UT

Judge Shelby said, "I believe it is the judge’s responsibility to reach decisions based exclusively on the application of established precedent to the specific facts presented.'' On what established precedent did he base this most recent decision? No other state in the Union nullified its same-sex laws without first going to trial as Shelby did.

Wouldn't this be grounds for impeachment based on abuse of power? Our D.C. representatives in the House should begin impeachment proceedings against Judge Shelby.


Once Law Schools moved from reaching decisions based on the Constitution to reaching decisions based on precedent, the very fabric of our society changed. Every little creepage from a case being based on constitutional principles to one based on precedent has moved us as a nation farther and farther away form what the founding fathers intended. Precedent law is dooming our country and allowing Judges to make laws. So much for checks and balances, even with judges what is correct principle.

Leesburg, VA

"During the confirmation process, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, described Shelby as "pre-eminently qualified" and predicted he would be "an outstanding judge."

Mr. Lee, your prediction have become to pass. Judge Shelby have earned a place in Utah and the U.S.A.

Highland, UT

Red Corvett: I don't think a judge needs courage he needs to follow the law. What you mean is he didn't follow the law he had the "courage" to override the Utah State Constitution by making his own law. This is not a single Federal Judges duty. The SCOTUS said in their recent ruling about the Federal DOM act that the states had the right to set their own laws on this matter. They could have ruled as this judge did and say the argument for traditional marriage was irrational but they didn't. Once again a single black robe goes past his duty to bring in his own bias. I think the man is qualified and that isn't the question, the question was did he overstep his bounds. The answer is clearly yes and then he upheld his own ruling. What a shock! This will be decided by SCOTUS. You don't overrule a state constitution by a single voice. Even if you agree with the ruling, you must understand and agree with my argument.

South Jordan, UT

He has proved, in this decision alone, to be an activist judge over-riding the Utah Constitution and 2/3 vote of the mandate of the Utah citizens who voted for traditional marriage between a man and a woman. He may be qualified, but he threw the wild card and ignored the will of the people with absolute disregard!

Unreconstructed Reb
Chantilly, VA

"Once Law Schools moved from reaching decisions based on the Constitution to reaching decisions based on precedent, the very fabric of our society changed."

Rick2009, the common law idea of precedent, or stare decisis, is necessary to understand the Constitution and the legal concepts it lays out such as due process, jury trials, and judicial power. Precedent is absolutely foundational to common law. This notion of precedent was well understood by the drafters of the Constitution, most of whom were lawyers who understood precedent and its role in common law they inherited from England. Removing precedent would require a complete rewrite of the Constitution in favor of a codified civil law like the constitutions of most other countries.

Precedent isn't absolute, and functions more as guidepost than hard-and-fast rule. But law schools teach using precedent precisely because that's how the Constitution was set up, not because of some radical shift away from constitutional principles.

Salt Lake City, UT

100+ years of traditional marriage being the only legal marriage in the state of Utah.
How's that for established legal precedent?
Is 100+ years not enough for Judge Shelby?
Or did he just "say anything they wanted to hear" to sneak past the Senate Judiciary Committee?

Somewhere in Time, UT

I have no doubt the founding fathers are spinning in their graves.

Big Bubba
Herriman, UT

Robert, [raising a glass of eggnog] here is to hoping that the supreme court overturns your ruling.

Utah, UT

Judge Shelby needs to learn about the limits of authority placed upon the judicial branch. In the words of Justice Scalia - The courts have become power hungry. They are out of control.

Murray, UT

@cats I wouldn't be shocked if they would support the change. Outside of Fox News and other questionable news sources, the majority of founding fathers were not Christians. They consisted of atheists, masons, and believers in a deity. If you take a hard look at the constitution and Jeffersons papers, the founding fathers framed the constitution to separate state from religion.

Salt Lake City, UT

Supreme court voted down doma and prop eight.

You are raising a glass of eggnog to the marriages preformed the last four days.

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Nice biography, but his decision was still wrong. Very wrong, and contrary to centuries of precedents.

Salt Lake City, UT

So what is it that this judge suddenly miraculously found in the constitution that all the other judges in US history must of overlooked?

Berger, Marshall, Brandeis, Warren, Scalia, Holmes, Brennan,....I guess these guys were all just stupid? Eh, activist judge Shelby?

The state voted and one activist judge over-turned the will of the people......
Not much to be proud of, really!

slc, UT


No doubt some maybe but they would be the same ones that believed women should not have the right to vote, that children were property and that slavery was acceptable. Luckily we have a rich history starting with the founding fathers of exaiming and challenging the assumptions on which we base our laws. There is a reason they built in a system for not only changing laws but for
Amending the constitution when necessary, they knew their knowledge was imperfect and therefore so are our laws.

Salt Lake City, UT

'So what is it that this judge suddenly miraculously found in the constitution that all the other judges in US history must of overlooked?'

*'Judge's Prop. 8 ruling upheld' - By Lisa Leff - AP - Published by DSNews - 06/14/11

'...ruling that struck down California's same-sex marriage ban…'

*'Judge Rules Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) Is Unconstitutional..' - ABC News - By Jake Tapper - 01/08/10

*'Judge Ware Denies Motion To Vacate Decision Overturning Prop 8' - By Barry Deutsch - Family Scholars - 06/14/11

*’Prop 8 declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL by 9th circuit court’ – by Michael De Groote – Deseret News – 02/07/12

‘"Proposition 8 served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California," the Ninth Circuit said in its ruling on appeal in the case of Perry v. Brown.'

All other judges?

Seems we have already chosen to forget the prop 8 rulings, doma rulings, and supreme court rulings.

I will always take a judge to rule on law…

instead of people who use religion, to dictate others. Claiming their belief is law.

Often, as just proven, they can be misinformed. Or worse, willfully ignorant.

Salt Lake City, UT

Dear Judge Robert J. Shelby,

Thank you, and God bless you. For choosing what is right, instead of what some claim is popular.

May this holiday find you and your family well. Your wonderful wife happy, and your children content.

You have made the lives of many Utahns a thing of beauty and grace.

Best wishes, to you and yours.

ute alumni

looks to me like he moves jobs about every three years. not that impressive to me. shelby is creating a great legacy for his children. activist and devious judges have a long history of creating downfalls of civilizations. shelby through his own "brilliance"is trying to do it in utah. hate to tell him that in the long run righteousness will prevail.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Judge Shelby was nominated by the president, approved by the Senate, and is a duly constituted Federal magistrate. His qualifications (though excellent) are not the issue. He has the authority under our Constitution to nullify any law that violates Constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process. He did so. It doesn't matter if every single voter in Utah approved Amendment 3; under our system, the Federal magistrate can strike it down. If you don't like that, then by all means change the Constitution. Until then, you have no standing to say Judge Shelby acted out of bounds.

Holladay, UT

It's curious how such big opinions grow out of so little understanding. To remedy that, try the following:

First, review Judge Shelby's confirmation hearing -- don't rely only on the cherry picked quotes above. Then, pull up the Memorandum Decision and Order: Kitchen v Herbert with a copy of the Constitution near by. If you don't have a good grasp on the cases being cited, get up to speed -- you'll be glad you did. Next, try to forget everything you've been hearing on FOX. Finally, take pride that we have a constitution that is both very in tact and also moving ahead with the times -- just as the framers intended. You can accomplish the entire task within the time it takes to watch two episodes of Duck Dynasty. You'll be glad you did it!

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