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No Prop 8 Trial Videos Yet

2:06 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Despite the order earlier this month by Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware to release the videos from the Proposition 8 trial in former Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker’s courtroom in San Francisco, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered a stay of this order, keeping the videos under wraps while the higher court decides the proponents’ appeal of the videos’ release.

In other words, this sideshow over releasing the videos, based on the fear of the bigots’ attorneys and witnesses that their arguments will be exposed to the light of day, making them look like the foolish bigots they are, continues. The Appeals Court’s time will be taken up over Judge Ware’s order without the videos in public view.

The court set an accelerated schedule for written arguments and a hearing for Dec. 5.

Supporters of same-sex marriage want the recordings made public to show the evidence behind former Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker’s ruling that overturned the 2008 ballot measure, a decision the appeals’ court also is reviewing. The historic two-week trial examined the history of marriage and the nature of sexual orientation.

Opponents of gay marriage insist the recordings should remain sealed because of possible harassment of witnesses who testified for the backers of Proposition 8.

Despite, of course, no reports or evidence of any harassment at all of those who testified or argued the case. Their names appeared in blogs — including this one — and in newspapers and on television throughout the trial, yet none have reported any harassment whatsoever. Fear of their bigoted views being exposed drives this appeal. Nothing else but fear of looking foolish.

From the three-judge panel’s order today:

The parties shall submit simultaneous principal briefs no later than November 14 and reply briefs no later than November 28. The length of these briefs is to be governed by Fed. R. App. P. 32(a)(7). The court will not entertain requests for extension of either the length limitations or the briefing schedule.

The court will hear oral argument during the week of December 5, 2011, in San Francisco, on a date to be determined subsequently. Thirty minutes of argument time is allocated to each side.

The Appeals Court must rule, and soon: these videos are public property and should be available to all to view. No better disinfectant than sunshine.

Federal Judge Invites Rank Bigotry Into 9th Circuit Courtroom

1:17 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

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.
Read the rest of this entry →

Prop 8 Hangs in the Balance in Undecided CA AG Race

3:26 pm in 2010 election, Elections, LGBT by Teddy Partridge

photo: Fritz Liess via Flickr

Among the still-undecided 2010 races around the nation, California’s Attorney General battle holds the future of Prop 8. San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris (D) pledges to follow current AG and Governor-Elect Jerry Brown’s lead and not defend Proposition 8 in federal court. Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley (R) has pledged to join the Defendant-Intervenors in their appeal of District Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional.

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, who now trails Republican Steve Cooley in their lead-changing race as thousands of late ballots are being counted, opposed Prop. 8 and backed outgoing AG Jerry Brown’s decision not to defend it in court.

Cooley, the Los Angeles County district attorney, said during the campaign that, if elected, he was prepared to give the ballot measure the defense it never got from the state.

The timing of the federal appeal probably preempts any change of direction Cooley might want to make in the AG’s office:

But Cooley probably wouldn’t have a chance to do that right away even if he won the election. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco is scheduled to hear arguments Dec. 6 in an appeal by Prop. 8′s sponsors from a federal judge’s ruling that declared the measure unconstitutional. The state’s deadline for appealing that ruling has expired, and if Cooley takes office in January, the court’s not likely to let him enter the case as a party.

It might also present a constitutional conflict if the new Attorney General and the new Governor disagree about whether to back Prop 8; Arnold has agreed with Brown regarding defending the anti-gay proposition. If Cooley wins, his decision to join a possible appeal to SCOTUS would be in defiance of Governor Brown. Whether he would be provided the resources to defend the law remains in doubt.

However, if the Appeals Court and SCOTUS deny the Defendant-Intervenors standing and dismiss the appeal on that basis, a new Attorney General backing their play could re-open the case.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

House Hard-Core Hate-Filled Homophobe Caucus Moves to Condemn Perry

10:23 am in Government, Legislature, LGBT, Politics, Republican Party by Teddy Partridge

[Ed. note: see the fun fact at the end which I missed the first time I read this piece -- worth a chuckle over these chuckleheads.]

The hard-core homophobes in the House GOP caucus have revealed themselves, and they are a sorry lot indeed. These are the people American history books will cast into the dustbin: bigots, haters, the sorry folks who see civil rights as a zero-sum game. If you get your civil rights, I lose mine.

A group of conservative House Republicans on Tuesday introduced a resolution in Congress to condemn the recent federal court decision overturning Proposition 8 in California.

The introduction of the non-binding measure is one of the most prominent moves against the ruling from Republicans, whose response has largely been muted, or in some cases supportive of the decision.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is sponsoring the resolution, H. Res. 1607. The measure is pending before the House Judiciary Committee.

A quick reminder here: Lamar Smith is the Ranking Member of this Committee, and would become its Chair should the GOP take over the House this fall.

The resolution goes after Judge Vaughn Walker directly, and makes the incontrovertible statement that the decision is "wrong:"

The resolution offers findings faulting U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision for engaging in improper conduct during his consideration of the case. It says Walker “failed to conduct himself in an impartial manner” and “attempted to illegally broadcast the trial in disregard of the harassment such broadcast would invite on witnesses supporting Proposition 8.”

The resolution concludes that the sense of the U.S. House is that:

• Walker “failed to conduct himself in an impartial manner before striking down California’s popularly enacted Proposition 8 and thereby redefined traditional marriage to include same-sex relationships;”

• and Walker’s decision to overturn “California’s popularly enacted Proposition 8 is wrong.”

Here is the full text of the hate-filled screed.

And here is the list of the hard-core homophobes in the House, GOPs all, who want their body to reject Judge Walker’s reasoned decision in the face of foolish non-evidence that gays are icky:

Mr. SMITH of Texas (for himself, Mr. FRANKS of Arizona, Mr. JORDAN of Ohio, Mr. KING of Iowa, Mr. AKIN, Mr. CHAFFETZ, Mr. LAMBORN, Mr. LATTA, Mr. SENSENBRENNER, Mr. PITTS, Mr. JONES, Mrs. BACHMANN, Mr. FLEMING, Mr. GINGREY of Georgia, Mr. BACHUS, Mr. HOEKSTRA, Mr. MARCHANT, and Mr. ADERHOLT)

Fun fact: I do believe the resolution mis-names the case decided by Judge Walker. Mr Smith calls it Hollingsworth v Perry and not Perry v Schwarzenegger. Maybe this is the revenge of a gay or lesbian copy-editor in someone’s office on Capitol Hill?

DENIED: Prop 8 Stay to Be Lifted Aug. 18 at 5:00 p.m. PDT

12:41 pm in Culture, LGBT by Teddy Partridge

Here’s the actual text from Vaughn Walker’s court:

ORDER by Judge Walker denying [705] Motion to Stay. The clerk is DIRECTED to enter judgment forthwith. That judgment shall be STAYED until August 18, 2010 at 5 PM PDT at which time defendants and all persons under their control or supervision shall cease to apply or enforce Proposition 8. (vrwlc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 8/12/2010)

[Ed. note: You can view the full document at this link: Prop 8 Stay Order. More about the denial here: Breaking: Judge Walker Denies Prop 8 Motion, Stays Decision till 8/18, by bmaz.]

Couples Line Up at SF City Hall Awaiting Vaughn Walker’s Decision Today

11:01 am in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Awaiting Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision today about a stay on his Perry ruling, lesbian and gay couples lined up at San Francisco’s City Hall to take advantage of what might prove to be a narrow window again for legal same-sex nuptials in California.

Rod Wood, 56, and his boyfriend of seven years, Roger Hunt, 52, were the first in line at San Francisco City Hall. The San Francisco couple said they wanted to be there in case the window of opportunity to wed was small.

Wood proposed to Hunt two days ago, and the couple got rings Wednesday night at the Stonestown Galleria. If the two get married, they plan to celebrate their honeymoon by taking a motorcycle trip to the Sierra.

"I’m trying to remain calm, but I don’t want to be devastated if the stay is lifted," Hunt said.

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker intends to rule today on whether same-sex marriage can resume. Last week, Walker invalidated Proposition 8, which was passed by voters in 2008 and bans same-sex marriage in California, but he immediately put in place a stay that froze enforcement of his ruling.

And the City and County of San Francisco appears to be fully prepared to provide legal services at the Marriage Licenses window as soon as is possible:

One couple, Teresa Rowe, and her girlfriend of five years, Kristin Orbin, both 31, arrived at 4:30 a.m. from Fairfield. They were playing it safe; rather than wait in line at the clerk’s office, they were sitting on the steps of City Hall to see whether Vaughn would lift the stay.

The clerk’s office, meanwhile, was girding for the likely onrush of same-sex couples seeking to get married.

"We’re fully prepared,’ said deputy county clerk Alan Wong. "We’re fully ready."

Both of the state’s two highest elected officials, in briefs to the Court, have urged the judge not to use potential administrative delays as an excuse to hold off on allowing California to resume marrying same-sex couples:

Schwarzenegger said the state was well-equipped to handle the marriages of gays and pointed to the fact that an estimated 18,000 gay couples were wed in California before Proposition 8 passed.

"Government officials can resume issuing such licenses without administrative delay or difficulty,” Schwarzenegger’s office said in written arguments to the court.

The governor called Walker’s repudiation of Proposition 8 "consistent with California’s long history of leading the way in recognizing the rights of gay and lesbian families to order their relationships and manage their day-to-day lives."

Brown also told Walker that possible administrative difficulties should not be used as an excuse for denying gays the right to wed. Brown said his office last year opposed a pretrial request to block Proposition 8 only because the legal and factual issues had not yet been explored.

Prop 8 Trial Ruling Wednesday Between 1-3pm PDT

7:39 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Judge Vaughn Walker of the Ninth Circuit Court announced Tuesday that he will rule on the Prop 8 case (Perry v Schwarzenegger) on Wednesday, August 4, 2010. The ruling will be issued sometime between 1 and 3pm Pacific time and will not be read from the bench. Judge Walker’s ruling will be issued through the court’s electronic filing system, so it will be available to one and all at exactly the same time.

I certainly hope the Ninth Circuit is prepared for the constant refreshing of browser windows starting at 4pm Eastern item as concerned attorneys and court personnel everywhere with PACER assess log on to determine which side will be appealing Judge Walker’s ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, a virtual certainty.

From the Court’s announcement today:

August 3, 2010


On August 4, 2010, the court will issue its written order containing findings of fact and conclusions of law following the court trial held in January and June of this year. The order will be e-filed in the court’s Electronic Case Filing system, and will be immediately available thereafter through ECF and PACER. There will be no court proceeding associated with the publication of the order.

Prop 8 News: No 2010 Re-Vote; Judge Walker Wants to Close Evidence Record

12:14 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

In Prop 8 news today, backers of a 2010 ballot initiative to repeal the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage failed to gather enough signatures to qualify their initiative for the ballot. In Prop 8 trial news, Judge Vaughn Walker has notified trial participants that he intends to close the evidentiary record, and seeks comments on that intention by this Friday.

First, the trial news:

ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE why the evidentiary record should not be closed. Show Cause Response due by 4/16/2010. Signed by Judge Walker on April 13, 2010. (vrwlc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/13/2010)

The point of closing the evidence record, of course, would be to end the opportunity to submit any new evidence, such as the discovery materials sought by the Defendant-Intervenors from non-parties who fought Prop 8 during the election. These were the subject of last month’s hearing.

Additionally, the court filed an order earlier this week regarding new Amicus Briefs. Presumably, Judge Walker has had enough of those! While he did say (when last discussing them) that he would read them all, because the case was particularly ‘well-lawyered’ Walker expected that friends-of-the-court would have little new light to shed. But, he said, in case that new light did exist, he would read amicus briefs looking for it. But, now, he may be done with them.

Does all this activity indicate that Judge Walker is close to scheduling closing arguments in the federal case in San Francisco?

Now, the initiative news:

Backers of an initiative to repeal Proposition 8, the California ban on same-sex marriage, have failed to gather enough signatures to place it on the ballot in November.

The supporters say they will try to qualify the measure for the November 2012 election.

Gay rights activists had been split on whether to push such a measure this year or in 2012. The largest groups supported waiting for the next presidential election. Those supporting a vote this year said the division hampered their fundraising and volunteer efforts.

There has been some debate within the LGBT community about whether the gubernatorial election (2010) or the presidential election (2012) would be a better place for a repeal initiative.

Brian Leubitz touches on this at Calitics:

While this isn’t a surprise, it does end a trying divide within the LGBT community. I do not speak for the courage campaign [sic] or anybody other than myself here, but generally, I’m inclined to believe gubernatorial elections have a better electorate for our side. That is 2010 would have been better than 2008, and 2014 will be better than 2012. During off year elections, you get better educated electorates, and that correlates fairly well with those who aren’t really bothered by marriage equality. I have done some analysis looking at that, but also have spoken to a few huge voter number nerds who agree with that hypothesis. It’s still an open question, however.

That being said, time matters as well, probably even more than presidential or gubernatorial year. As more millenials spill into the voting ranks, more pro-equality votes are stacking up on our side. While 2 years won’t make a huge difference, many number nerds think it is just under 2 percent per year that the electorate moves toward equality. Obviously, that’s far from a precise number, but 4 percent would be enough to flip the Prop 8 vote around.

Liveblogging Prop 8 Trial Tuesday Morning 3/16 (48)

11:00 am in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Good morning! We are in Judge Vaughn Walker’s San Francisco courtroom again this morning; today at 10am Judge Walker will hear an appeal of Magistrate Judge Spero’s order regarding disclosure of materials from anti-Prop 8 groups, specifically Equality California (EQCA) executive director Geoff Kors.

First thing this morning (9:30am pacific time) Judge Walker is dealing with an unrelated criminal matter. I’ll begin liveblogging the Perry v Schwarzenegger appeal hearing as soon as it begins.

Criminal matter running a little long; as of 10:10 Judge Walker is still hearing the criminal matter.

10:25 criminal matter concluded; court taking break now.

12:20PM: Hearing concluded.

Lots of so-so lawyering from ACLU and EQCA as well as some crisp responses from Desseau (Plaintiffs take no position on the order to compel disclosure) and the P-I attorney. A number of good questions from Judge Walker, specifically with regard to the where the "clear error" of the magistrate’s order is. I’m not sure either ACLU or eQCA attorneys showed any error at all, although they argued the merits a lot.

Plaintiff-Intervenor thinks since they had to provide docs, so should these parties, although they are "sympathetic" to the first amendment arguments, having made and lost them with regard to their own doc production.

Finally, the ACLU attorney tried to get some more words in edgewise at the end, to very little sympathy from Judge Walker. At the end of this attempt, the ACLU attorney agreed with Dousseau that this would endanger the wonderful, awesome schedule Judge Walker kept for the entire trial, since this magistrate’s order would certainly be appealed to the full Ninth Circuit.

Judge Walker did not appear to be pleased to be reminded of the several times the Ninth Circuit has overruled his orders in this case, and said "Thank you" and left the bench.

Shortly thereafter, the Clerk announced that Court was in recess. Chatting with lawyers afterward, no one seems to think today’s activity made a verdict appear any sooner, although there was some discussion that we could get one or two weeks advance notice of a date for closing arguments.

Stay tuned!