Judicial Sarcasm Takes Down Michigan’s Anti-Marriage Equality Amendment

By: Saturday March 22, 2014 9:05 am

As I’ve watched the series of marriage equality cases move forward, I’m struck by how each ruling has its own flavor. Mark Cady in Iowa wrote movingly about the illogic of restricting marriage while proclaiming equal protection. Vaughn Walker in California was meticulous in getting facts into the record and weaving together the legal logic to take down Prop 8. Arenda Wright Allen in Virginia was powerful in her use of Loving v Virginia to lift up the role of the courts to forge justice “from fires of indignities and prejudices suffered”. Now comes Judge Bernard Friedman of the US Southern District of Michigan, who brought a sense of wit and sarcasm to bear on the target-rich environment of those opposed to marriage equality in the case of Deboer v Snyder.

It’s not just the ruling striking down Michigan’s Marriage Amendment [MMA] that makes me happy, but the withering way in which Friedman took on the arguments presented by the defendants. . .


Marriage Equality Moves Ahead, Thanks to Virginia Federal Judge Wright Allen

By: Saturday February 15, 2014 9:05 am

The push toward full marriage equality took another big step forward in Virginia on Thursday evening, just in time to make Valentine’s Day that much more happy for LGBTs and their allies. In a very readable, very well-written 41 page opinion, US District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen (Eastern District of Virginia) struck down Virginia’s prohibition on same sex couples getting married in Virginia and those who were married elsewhere having their marriages recognized within the state.

The whole thing is great, but the very best parts of her opinion were in the footnotes . . .

Marriage Equality and the Choice Before the Supreme Court

By: Saturday December 8, 2012 9:00 am

SCOTUS has a choice before it in the two marriage equality cases they have agreed to review. Will they follow the logic of Plessy v Ferguson and its doctrine of “separate but equal” or Brown v Board of Education and a clear declaration of “equal”? Will they choose the logic of Dred Scott v. John Sandford and its “blacks have no citizenship rights” or that of Loving v Virginia and its “states have no discrimination rights”?

Judges elsewhere, like Mark Cady in Iowa and Vaughn Walker in California, have chose the path of Brown and Loving. Will John Roberts walk that same path, or will he and his conservative colleagues choose to be remembered like Roger Taney for sending Dred Scott back into slavery?

Ninth Circuit May Announce Prop 8 En Banc Decision Tomorrow

By: Monday June 4, 2012 3:35 pm

The announcement from the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that they will have an announcement tomorrow has stirred some speculation about what is to be announced.

What’s Next for the Prop 8 Case

By: Tuesday February 7, 2012 12:00 pm

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional this morning, relying on arguments used by Supreme Court Justice Kennedy in another case. This furthers a process that will almost certainly end in the Supreme Court, with a precedent-setting ruling on the right of same-sex couples to marry. However, the ruling today is limited to the circumstances of the California initiative.

Appeals Court Ruling on Prop 8 Tuesday

By: Monday February 6, 2012 4:15 pm

The long-awaited Appeals Court ruling on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 will be announced tomorrow.

Prop 8 Trial Videos Will Stay Sealed

By: Thursday February 2, 2012 1:56 pm

A panel of the Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals ruled today, unanimously, that the videos made during the Perry v Schwarzenegger trial by then-Chief Judge Vaughn Walker of the proceedings in his courtroom and ordered released by his successor, Chief Judge James Ware, will remain sealed and not viewable by the public, in order to “preserve the integrity of the judicial process.”

Whatever that means.

Bigots Will Appeal Ware’s Beatdown Ruling on Walker Recusal

By: Wednesday June 15, 2011 6:15 pm

Must be nice to have an almost unlimited number of bigoted rubes willing to open their wallets whenever h8 comes calling. Case in point: Charles Cooper, losing lead attorney guiding the ProtectMarriage consiglieres to defeat at every single stage of the Prop 8 trial, announced Oh, Hell Yes, They Will Appeal Chief Judge James Ware’s eloquent, swift beatdown of their horrific motion to order Judge Vaughn Walker to recuse himself because, you know what — he’s Ghey!

Federal Judge Rules Vaughn Walker Needn’t Have Recused

By: Tuesday June 14, 2011 7:12 pm

Yesterday was a low point in the federal justice system: it was offensive and heinous that a petitioner could come in to federal court to argue that a judge’s sexual orientation, and relationship status, deprives that judge of the ability to rule impartially. Happily, Judge Ware did not take long to discard this odious argument, made by bigots as a last gasp against the arc of justice.

Prop 8 Supporters Try to Gay-Bait Vaughn Walker in New Appeal

By: Tuesday April 26, 2011 11:50 am

If Walker would have to recuse because he is gay and in a relationship, would a judge in a heterosexual marriage also have to recuse? Would he not have to recuse if he merely cruised from club to club every night and didn’t have a long-term partner? Could only a confirmed bachelor or bachelorette who vowed never to marry, and thus not have their marriage threatened by a same-sex couple, have the distance necessary to judge? Can a woman not fairly judge a gender discrimination case? Can any judge over the age of 65 not fairly rule in an age discrimination case?

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