Monday, December 6, 2010

Opening Arguments in Today's Prop 8 Appeal to be Televised

On August 4th of this year, Federal District Court Justice Vaughn Walker ruled that California's Proposition 8, the voter initiative that banned same-sex marriage in the gayest state on the planet, violated the constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples under the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment.

Today, four months later, a three judge panel in a San Francisco federal appeals court will hear opening arguments from the Pro-H8 side and the dream team of Olson and Boies, who won the case for us last summer.

Perhaps the most critical part of all of this is the question of standing. At issue is whether or not the Prop 8 defenders have the legal standing to file the appeal at all. Our side maintains that they do not, as they were not named in the case of Perry vs. Schwarzenegger. The Governator and incoming Governor-elect/Attorney General Jerry Brown both chose not to appeal the case.

If you're not constitutional lawyer, it may be a little hard to understand all the legalese and what's going on this morning, so AmericaBlog Gay breaks it down for us and provides links to the legal briefs being filed by each side. It's all pretty dry and technical, but some of it makes for some very compelling reading, especially the Olson-Boies responses:
Prop 8 Proponents Opening Brief: The defenders of prop 8 are looking to establish that (1) they have standing to pursue an appeal of Judge Walker's ruling in Perry v. Schwarzenegger; (2) Imperial County (a county in Southern California east of San Diego) also has standing to pursue the appeal; and (3) Prop 8 should be upheld. The Introduction (pp. 1-8) and Summary of Argument (16-18) provide a good outline of what they are arguing.

Main Response Brief filed by the Olson-Boies team: In this brief, our people are asking the court (1) to deny standing to the proponents of Prop 8 and (2) to strike down Prop 8 as unconstitutional. Pages 1-28 encompass the Introduction, the Statement of Facts and the Summary of Argument. If you only have time to read one thing, read this.

Response regarding Imperial County: filed by the Olson-Boies team. This is the response to the argument that Imperial County should be permitted to pursue appeal. You might want to look at pages 1-2. They contain the Introduction and Statement of the Issues.
The blog Pop 8 Trial Tracker will be live blogging the proceedings, which begin at 10:00am PST today (1:00pm Eastern). TV cameras will be allowed in the court room this time, courtesy of C-SPAN. (Watch here.)

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