Monday, June 13, 2011

Hearing Today

Today is the hearing in Federal Court on the Prop 8 case. This time, the supporters of Prop 8 are claiming that because Judge Vaughn Walker is gay, he couldn't hear the case because he might benefit from the outcome.

As I said before, that's like saying a woman judge can't hear a case about abortion (she might want one), or an African American judge can't hear a case about racial inequality in insurance (he might need some) or a devout Roman Catholic judge can't hear a case claiming damages for priestly molestation (it's his church that will pay).

It's exactly the same argument, and it's deeply offensive.

And what if a straight judge had a gay daughter? Would the same argument apply? Or what if he attended a church with a gay partnered bishop? What then?

And by the way, it was an open secret that Judge Walker is gay and in a relationship--the supporters didn't care, until they lost the case.

For updates, check out the Prop8 Trial Tracker.Writing at the Tracker, Attorney Shannon Minter puts it in context:
It is important to place this motion in historical context. The Prop 8 supporters’ argument is far from new: for as long as civil rights cases have been litigated in this country, opponents of equality have accused minority judges of bias — of somehow being less able than other judges to rule impartially on important constitutional issues that by definition affect not just minority groups, but everyone.

In a famous 1975 case, a law firm that had been sued for sex discrimination argued that Judge Constance Baker Motley should recuse herself, accusing her of “‘strongly identif[ying] with those who suffered discrimination in employment because of sex or race’” because she was a woman and had worked as a civil rights advocate prior to becoming a judge. Judge Motley correctly explained, “If background or sex or race of each judge were, by definition, sufficient for removal, no judge on this court could hear this case[.]” ....Similarly, in a 1984 case, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the argument that a Mormon judge in Utah should have recused himself from a case that challenged the religious power structure in Utah....

We hope and believe that after considering the long and shameful history of attempts to disqualify judges based on personal characteristics, Judge Ware will resoundingly reject this offensive and desperate tactic by the Prop 8 supporters.
Let's hope.


IT said...

You can also follow #prop8 on twitter for live tweets.

JCF said...

Another reason it matters:

Butte (County, CA) gay couple challenge federal marriage act

IT said...

Dahlia Lithwick sums it up here:

James said...

Did we expect anything different from the anti civil rights camp? Any port in a storm as long as that port has any thing for them to grasp. It's shameful that in the year 2011 we are still listening to the same tired arguments from Neanderthals. (Sorry to insult the Neanderthals)