CA’s Prop 8 Supporters Want It Reinstated On Claims Judge Is Gay
Supporters of California’s anti-gay Proposition 8 are trying to get the measure reinstated on their claims that Judge Vaughn Walker, who overturned the ban, is gay.
Andy Pugno, general counsel for the group who made the motion, ProtectMarriage, said that federal law requires a judge to disqualify himself if he has any personal interest in the outcome of the case or if there are circumstances which might cause a judge’s impartiality to be reasonably questioned.
“The American people have a right to a fair judicial process, free from even the appearance of bias or prejudice,” Pugno said in a statement.
The brief claimed that Judge Walker is a “judge in his own case” because he has a potential interest in marrying his own partner. Only if Judge Walker “had unequivocally disavowed any interest in marrying his partner could the parties and the public be confident that he did not have a direct personal interest in the outcome of the case,” it said.
If the Ninth Circuit buys into this, it sets a dangerous precedent.
Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California, Irvine School of Law, said that no U.S. court had ever ruled that a judge’s personal identity was sufficient reason for disqualification. “I think it is offensive to say that a judge can’t hear this case because he is gay or lesbian,” he said. “By that reasoning, a black judge couldn’t have heard challenges to segregation law.”
And wouldn’t a straight judge be biased, too? Only a eunuch could hear this case.Click here for reuse options!
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