2005 Marriage Equality Rhode Island Rally

2005 Marriage Equality Rhode Island Rally by Jef Nickerson, on Flickr

Judge James Ware, who succeeded Vaughn Walker as the [chief judge of the 9th Circuit-- corrected] Chief Judge of the U.S, District Court for the Northern District of California, has called for briefs and scheduled a hearing on the motion by Prop 8 Defendant-Intervenors to vacate Judge Walker’s ruling on the grounds that he is 1) a homosexual and 2) in a long-term relationship and therefore 3) his ruling that invalidated Proposition 8 could directly benefit himself.

Set/Reset Deadlines as to [768] MOTION to Vacate Judgment. Responses due by 5/13/2011. Replies due by 5/23/2011. Motion Hearing set for 6/13/2011 09:00 AM in Courtroom 5, 17th Floor, San Francisco before Hon. James Ware. (sis, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/27/2011)

This is rank bigotry, and I’ll tell you why: Yes on 8 says Judge Walker’s ruling shouldn’t count because he’s gay and in a long-term, committed relationship that might result in a marriage should his own ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional be upheld.

They claim he has a conflict of interest.
Now, for a moment, simply imagine a federal judge entertaining a motion from a defendant that an African-American judge couldn’t impartially decide a school desegregation case because he lives in the affected district. Imagine a federal judge entertaining a motion to disqualify a colleague from a case about the legality of selling birth control devices because the judge lived in the affected jurisdiction and is married to a fertile woman. Imagine a judge being asked to vacate the judgment of another judge who ruled on that state’s process for about distributing and evaluating marital assets because that judge happened to be in the midst of a divorce from her husband.

This is rank bigotry on the part of Judge Ware, and can only be justified by the federal court system’s consideration of gay people as second-class citizens. It is shameless prejudice. No heterosexual judge would be held to any similar standard regarding her own long-term, committed relationship. No plaintiff would dare question the bona fides of a straight judge.

Gays are second-class in federal court and in America; Judge James Ware just proved the entire point of Perry.

And no chief judge would consider such a motion about a heterosexual judge, nor would he grant a hearing and request briefs on the topic. It is absurd on its face and should be rejected by the federal court system. Judge Ware should be sanctioned for allowing such rank bigotry a place in his courtroom.

He should certainly remove himself from any further deliberations regarding the Perry case, as he’s shown himself to hold bigotry in high enough esteem to hear its arguments about a colleague.

It’s shameful and it shouldn’t be tolerated.