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Potter v. Murray City

760 F.2d 1065 (1985)

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Potter v. Murray City

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

760 F.2d 1065 (1985)

Facts

Royston E. Potter (plaintiff) was terminated from his employment as a police officer in Murray City, Utah (defendant). Potter was terminated for violating Article III of the Utah Constitution by practicing polygamy, which was forbidden under state law. In response, Potter filed a suit against the city, the chief of police, the Murray City Civil Service Commission, Utah’s governor, Utah’s attorney general, and the state itself (defendants). Because Utah’s prohibition on polygamy was mandated by Congress in the Utah Enabling Act, under which Utah was admitted into the Union, the United States (defendant) was also brought into the suit. Potter argued that the law prohibiting polygamy was unconstitutional because it violated (1) his right to the free exercise of religion found in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution; (2) his right to privacy found in the Fourteenth Amendment; and (3) his rights to due process and equal protection, also found in the Fourteenth Amendment, because the law was in desuetude (i.e., discontinued due to disuse). Potter also argued that the law was void because of the equal-footing doctrine. The district court entered a verdict for the defendants. Potter appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Holloway, C.J.)

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