Judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Tuesday asked whether they should abstain from reinstating a case by a North Texas judge who alleges that a state ethics commission threatened him with discipline because he won’t officiate at same-sex weddings.

In the oral argument in Umphress v. Hall, Chief Judge Priscilla Owen and Judges Jerry Smith and James Graves Jr. devoted much of the questioning to a federal abstention doctrine that says a federal court shouldn’t rule in a constitutional challenge to a state law until state courts have gotten reasonable time to rule.

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