Appellate Lawyer of the Week: Jonathan Turley

The National Law Journal
When Jonathan Turley is not teaching at George Washington University Law School or blogging, he is a litigator whose cases can never be described as boring.

In June, acting on behalf of members of Congress, he sued the Obama administration claiming it had no constitutional basis for its military actions in Libya. Last year, he represented disgraced federal judge G. Thomas Porteous in his Senate impeachment trial.

And last month, in what may be his highest-profile case ever, Turley filed a complaint called Brown v. Herbert, challenging Utah's criminalization of polygamy. He represents Kody Brown and his openly polygamous family, who are featured on the "Sister Wives" reality show on TLC.

The lawsuit may be the realization of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's nightmare, as he expressed it in his dissent in the 2003 case Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down laws against homosexual sodomy. If society could not make a moral judgment against sodomy, Scalia said, then laws against everything from bestiality to bigamy would be open to attack.

Turley relies heavily on the majority opinion in Lawrence in his complaint, and he asserts that the Brown case could be the one that forces the Court – and society – to recognize that discrimination between different kinds of intimate relationships violates the Constitution.

Earlier this week Turley sat down with Supreme Court Insider to discuss the Brown case and his approach to controversial litigation.

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