Jeffrey Fisher. (Photo: Jason Doiy/The Recorder)
Updated 9:04 p.m.
Stanford Law School professor Jeffrey Fisher is the latest veteran U.S. Supreme Court advocate to become involved in the same-sex marriage issue as it reaches the doorstep of the high court.
The Tulsa World reported today that Fisher, codirector of Stanford’s Supreme Court clinic, is joining the legal team behind Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin, plaintiffs in the case challenging Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Their challenge has been successful so far, with wins at the district court level and before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. The Oklahoma case is one of several the justices might take up in the coming term to resolve the constitutional issue surrounding bans on same-sex marriage.
Fisher, best known for his expertise in criminal procedure, became involved in part because of a law clerk connection. University of Oklahoma College of Law professor Joseph Thai, who is helping in the defense of same-sex marriage in the Oklahoma case, clerked for Justice John Paul Stevens, as did Fisher.
“Joe reached out to me after the Oklahoma cert petition was filed,” Fisher said. “I try to think of myself as a generalist, so it was not a hard sell for me to get involved.” Fisher noted that the Stanford clinic was cocounsel in the 2013 Windsor case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act before the high court, with then-professor Pamela Karlan taking the lead.
Fisher said he will be listed as counsel of record in the brief being filed Wednesday in the Oklahoma case, and will argue the case if the court agrees to take it and time is allotted. The brief, Fisher said, will agree with Oklahoma that the Supreme Court should grant review and resolve the issue through one or more of the cases challenging state bans.
Supreme Court veterans involved in same-sex marriage litigation in other states include former solicitor general Neal Katyal, now with Hogan Lovells. He is one of the lawyers challenging Utah’s ban. Defending the ban is Gene Schaerr, a former Winston & Strawn partner who argued frequently before the high court. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s Theodore Olson, the former solicitor general, is aiding Virginia citizens seeking the right marry, as is David Boies of Boies, Schiller & Flexner.