The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals announced today that it will not reconsider its previous decision to narrowly uphold Judge Vaughn Walker’s Circuit Court decision overturning Proposition 8 in California.
The issue of same-sex marriage moved a step closer to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday when a federal appeals court, over vehement dissents by conservative judges, reaffirmed its ruling that struck down California’s Proposition 8.
Sponsors of Proposition 8 had asked the Appeals Court to review its three-judge-panel’s decision and appoint an 11-judge panel to make a new decision. That won’t happen now.
The only remaining avenue of appeal is to the U.S. Supreme Court. The case could reach the high court’s docket for the 2012-13 term, along with an appeal of last week’s ruling by another federal appeals court that declared unconstitutional the denial of federal benefits to married same-sex couples.
Most interesting was the public dissent of three conservative judges, who invoked the recent announcement by noted state’s rights advocate President Barack Obama:
The court announces only the results of such votes on requests for rehearings and not number of votes on each side. The only public dissent came from three conservatives who noted that President Obama, in his recent endorsement of the right of same-sex couples to marry, had said each state should make its own decision.
“Today our court has silenced any such respectful conversation,” said Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, joined by Judges Jay Bybee and Carlos Bea. They said the court panel had wrongly invoked antigay bias as “the only conceivable motivation for a sovereign state to have remained committed to a definition of marriage that has existed for millennia.”
I suppose Jay Bybee thinks he owes Barack Obama one, because of the president’s “look forward, not backward” policy of not trying Bybee for his torture memos while working at the Department of Justice. Must be nice to be on the states’ rights team going into a presidential re-election.