I am in Salt Lake City today for the hearing on the government’s second motion to dismiss the challenge to the state’s bigamy law by the Brown family — the cast of TLC’s Sister Wives program. As always in dealing with my own cases, I have to be circumspect in any public comments on the case. [Update: The court has promised a decision soon on whether it will proceed to rule on the constitutionality of the state law]
Recently, the prosecutors filed a declaration promising that they would not prosecute the Brown family and, on that basis, sought a dismissal on the grounds of mootness. We opposed that motion with the filing below.
We remain committed to the case and strongly believe that dismissal of the case at this late juncture would not be warranted. The parties were set for final arguments of summary judgment — and a long-awaited ruling on the constitutionality of this law — when the prosecutors filed their second Motion to Dismiss. While we maintain that this law is facially unconstitutional, the government insists that it is both lawful and enforceable. We believe that the Browns and the public at large should have an answer on this important question.
Here is a statement from the Brown Family today:
“The family is obviously following developments in Salt Lake City closely today as the court considers the Motion to Dismiss filed by the prosecutors who do not want the Court to rule on the merits of our case. We remain committed and hopeful in the litigation. We feel strongly that this law is unconstitutional and that the people of Utah should have a final decision on that question. While we continue our close ties to Utah, we have remained in Nevada in the best interest of our children and family. One of the factors weighing heavily on our decision has been the continued insistence of officials that this law is constitutional and that plural families are presumptive felons. As we have stated before, Nevada has offered our family a wonderful and welcoming environment, which is deeply appreciated. We remain deeply thankful for the hard work of Professor Jonathan Turley and our local counsel Adam Alba and the team of students at George Washington University Law School. We remain committed to this case wherever it may lead in seeking to affirm the rights of plural families in Utah.”