Proposition 8 Ruled Unconstitutional
The panel had three issues to decide:
- Whether the backers of Proposition 8 had standing to appeal the District Court ruling that struck down Proposition 8
- Whether (assuming they did have standing) the ballot measure was unconstitutional, and
- Whether District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who decided the lower court case, should have recused himself due to being in a same-sex relationship at the time, and which would invalidate his ruling altogether.
I just got the ruling, so I’m going to be reading through it before I comment more on the details.
From here, Proposition 8 proponents have the option of appealing to the en banc Ninth Circuit Court, or appealing to the United States Supreme Court. The strategy here depends on the proponents’ expectations.
If they expect that the Supreme Court will hear the case, and rule in their favor, then they are better served by immediately appealing to them, and getting that final decision as soon as possible. It is unlikely, though, that the Supreme Court will make time on this season’s calendar for the case. Much more likely is that it will be heard in next year’s season, which begins as we approach the Presidential election.
If they expect the Supreme Court to not hear the case, and let the lower ruling stand, then they are better served by taking a gamble with the en banc Court to get a ruling in their favor. It’s not unreasonable to do that anyway; the panel was made up of the most liberal members of the Ninth Circuit Court, so they stand a good chance of a more conservative opinion from the en banc Court. At worst, it would allow them to maximize the time without same-sex marriages in California, as such marriages will almost certainly be stayed until the Supreme Court does whatever it is going to do.
I’m pretty sure the Supreme Court would ultimately agree to hear the case. The Court may choose to delay action (as it so often does), by remanding the case to the en banc Ninth Circuit. But I cannot see how the Supreme Court cannot eventually act on this case.
- Supreme Court Watch: Decisions in Hollingsworth v. Perry and Windsor v. United States
- Supreme Court Watch: The Final Act
- Supreme Court Watch: Diverse Thoughts
- Supreme Court Watch: Salinas v. Texas
- Expanding and Contracting Marriage
- Supreme Court Watch: United States v. Windsor
- Supreme Court Watch: Hollingsworth v. Perry
- Supreme Court Watch: Shelby County v. Holder
- Supreme Court Watch: Millbrook v. United States
- Supreme Court Watch: Levin v. United States