Among the questions that will need to be answered by the judges are whether the Proposition 8 proponents have standing to bring the appeal; whether Imperial County should have been allowed to intervene in the case and now have standing to appeal the Aug. 4 ruling; whether, if a party does have standing to bring the appeal, Walker was right that Proposition 8 violates the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process; and whether, if no party has standing to bring the appeal, there even was standing at the district court level for Walker to have heard the case.
With Reinhardt likely to be looking for a way to affirm the ruling and Smith likely to be looking for a way to overturn it, the complexity of the standing questions could give Hawkins significant sway over the specific outcome that the court might reach to dispose of the case.
Once the three-judge panel hears the case and later rules, any party dissatisfied with the ruling could seek en banc review, which would require all the active Ninth Circuit judges to vote whether en banc consideration will be given. If a majority supports en banc consideration, then the chief judge of the circuit, Judge Alex Kozinski, and 10 randomly selected appellate judges from the circuit will hear the en banc appeal. Further review by the Ninth Circuit or a request to the Supreme Court to hear the case could follow.
Update: Watch it on C-SPAN.