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Three 10th Circuit Court of Appeals judges chosen to hear Utah's same-sex marriage case

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - A three-judge panel from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has been selected to hear arguments in Utah’s same-sex marriage case.

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - A three-judge panel from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has been selected to hear arguments in Utah’s same-sex marriage case.

The group is a diverse bunch of veteran judges with two of the three appointed by Republican presidents.

"Some people have indicated that this seems like a bit of a conservative panel, but this isn't necessarily a conservative issue it's a federal vs. state's rights issue,” explained legal analyst Greg Skordas.

The panel includes long-time judge Paul Kelly Jr. He’s served on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals since 1992 and was appointed by President George H.W. Bush.

Judge Carlos Lucero was appointed by President Bill Clinton, and is the first Hispanic named to the 10th Circuit Court.

Judge Jerome Holmes is the first African-American to serve. He was appointed by George W. Bush.

Skordas says just because a judge was nominated by a republican or democrat doesn't mean they'll be more or less conservative.

"I think it's presumptuous to say that a justice who's appointed by a democratic president will be more liberal, one who's appointed by a republican might be more conservative,” said Skordas.

Skordas adds even if you looked back at these judge's prior rulings, it gives little indication of how they'll rule in this case. He says this decision could come down either way.

"Because this issue is so unique it's really difficult to look at any judge's prior rulings, either before he or she came on to the court of appeals or not, and say well they tend to lean in favor of state's rights or they tend to lean in favor of equal protection,” said Skordas. “This is really a wide open issue."

Arguments begin April 10th in Denver. It will be several months before a decision is made and it's very likely that even once a ruling is made the case will be brought before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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