switching sides

Does It Make Sense for AG Jerry Brown to Be Made a Prop 8 Plaintiff?


Speaking of California AG Jerry Brown, the gubernatorial hopeful is once again being attacked by Prop 8 supporters. Having already branded the marriage law unconstitutional and refused to defend it in the federal lawsuit Perry v. Schwarzenegger, lawyers for anti-gay group Protect Marriage are demanding Brown now appear as a plaintiff in the case, rather than a defendant.

While it’s Brown’s job as AG to defend the state’s laws, he’s opted not to. BECAUSE THIS ONE IS DISCRIMINATORY. The move makes him an ally with Ted Olson and David Boies, who brought the federal suit, claims the performance art group Protect Marriage. So rather than have him (along with the governor) named as defendants in the lawsuit, Yes on 8’s camp think it’s only fair to relabel Brown. (Brown’s office says the AG isn’t in bed with anyone, “[t]he attorney general’s position has been clear for a long time: He thinks Proposition 8 violates the 14th Amendment.”)

So what’s the big deal?

[Protect Marriage attorney Charles] Cooper cited Brown’s response to a document that plaintiffs routinely send in civil suits, asking their opponents to admit or deny contested legal and factual issues.

The attorney general sent his reply – which agreed with nearly all the plaintiffs’ claims that Prop. 8 violated their rights – on Sept. 23, a day before it was due, and just in time for the plaintiffs to include it in their own court filing opposing dismissal of the suit, Cooper said.

He also said Brown filed papers last month telling Walker he endorsed the plaintiffs’ view that the case should go to trial, even before the plaintiffs had filed their own arguments. Brown must have seen those arguments before the plaintiffs submitted them to Walker or to the Yes on 8 side, Cooper said, evidence that “plaintiffs and Attorney General Brown have essentially become litigation partners.”

Which is, frankly adorable! And also, slightly true. But hasn’t Perry Judge Vaughn Walker already determined who can and cannot be involved in this case?

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  • hyhybt

    “Brown’s office says the AG isn’t in bed with anyone”

    There’s an image I didn’t need. And what does his personal life, or lack thereof, have to do with anything? :)

  • Cam

    Gee, and yet people say that Obama’s justice department’s hands are tied and they HAVE to defend Don’t Ask Don’t tell. Hmm, Funny how the AG of CA. seems to be more powerful than the U.S. Attorney General and the White House.

  • Jason

    I will vote for him in the primary and hopefully in the general election.

    Last thing we need is Meg “I was to busy to vote until 2005” Whitman or Carly “Hi I ran HP Into a ditch, but I am really a business genius” Fiorina.

  • B

    Cam wrote, “Gee, and yet people say that Obama’s justice department’s hands are tied and they HAVE to defend Don’t Ask Don’t tell. Hmm, Funny how the AG of CA. seems to be more powerful than the U.S. Attorney General and the White House.”

    You got that a bit wrong – Jerry Brown’s office defended Proposition Eight against the claim that it was a revision to the state’s constitution as opposed to an amendment. When the California Supreme Court asked for an opinion regarding it, Brown’s office cited a *different* reason as to why it was unconstitutional, disagreeing with the plaintiffs in the case on a specific legal issue.

    What Brown’s office did not do was to make disparaging comments about gays or trot out absurd claims about “defending marriage”. Rather, he provided an objective legal analysis (whether you agree with it or not). What Brown did do was to act as the state’s legal representative, one who has an obligation to both defend state laws and initiatives but who also has an obligation to uphold the state constitution. Obama’s attorney general is in a similar position – he has an obligation to defend federal laws in court (even bad ones), just as the legal system tries to make sure that criminals get a fair trial, which includes competent legal representation, even if they can’t afford it.

    Keep in mind that the U.S. Constitution does not prohibit every bad law from being passed. Rather, it merely sets some bounds on the idiocy that Congress is allowed to enact. It is possible to think that a law is really stupid or mean spirited, but that it is in fact constitutional.

  • Flex

    Go Gerry! Rise up against religious bible thumping lunatics. Let’s use everything they say as weapons against them in court!

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