How Equality California and the ACLU Could Hold Up a Prop 8 Ruling

Equality California, Californians Against Eliminating Basic Rights, and the ACLU really don’t want to share their own internal documents as they worked to keep Prop 8 from passing, but if — the defendant in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case — must do it, then so too must these guys, a U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero judge ruled this month. Which has these groups trying to fight off the push for transparency (or, depending on who you ask, “invasive demands,” since this trio of groups aren’t official plaintiffs in the case), insisting Perry‘s Judge Vaughn Walker decline Spero’s ruling. And if he doesn’t? Then they’ll continue fighting it — which could cause a little delay in Walker issuing that little ruling about whether Prop 8 is unconstitutional.

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  • Hugh Yeman

    Naive question: Why don’t these groups want to share information?

  • jake

    i tend to agree with EQCA and the ACLU. the federal suit against prop 8 is to determine whether the people who put prop 8 on the ballot did it because they hate gay people. how would the documents of the no on 8 campaign have anything to do with that? they’re just fishing for information so that when judge walker rules against them, they have more info to appeal with.

  • Cam

    I thought that those groups actually didn’t want this suit filed, and once it was filed and they said they wanted to join in the plaintiffs told them to take a hike. So since they aren’t involved in the suit I really don’t see why the judge would think their records mattered.

  • Wade MacMorrighan

    So, if these groups weren’t named in the suit, than why do they have to present any documentation at all? After all, NOM was involved in the campaign, and I *certainly* don’t see THEM being asked to turn over any documents?

  • San Francisco Treat

    The judge can go after any information that’s relevant to the legal questions. I’m also not sure why the “no” side of this debate would be of interest when the whole argument turns on whether the “yes” side was motivated by animus – but if that information is there, the judge has the authority to review it.

    And Cam – you’re right that EQCA/ACLU/NCLR/HRC were all opposed to bringing this challenge at this time because of the current composition of the SCOTUS (they think we’re 1-2 votes short). Olson/Boies argued that the case is too strong for someone not to take it – and that someone would indeed take it – and that it should be them because they have unlimited cash and time and connections (which I think is pretty dispositive).


    @San Francisco Treat: I’m confused about the Olson/Boies “unlimited cash” reference. Olson and Boies aren’t doing the case for free – they’re being paid by AFER.

    Personally, I’d rather have one of the legal teams that’s won marriage cases before – GLAD, Lambda, NCLR or ACLU – be the first ones to argue marriage in front of SCOTUS when this makes it there, rather than these guys who’ve never tried a marriage case before in their lives. I know there are a lot of geighs awed by their reputations as amazing lawyers, but there’s a lot to be said for specialization. How many of us would go to the best plastic surgeon in the world for heart surgery? Seems like the same thing to me…

    So at this point, I’m glad this legal wrangling is delaying Perry from moving forward. It’s giving GLAD’s DOMA challenge, Gill v. OPM, a chance to make it to SCOTUS first, and I think both that team and that strategy are more likely to prevail.

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