final exam

The Simplistic Brilliance of Judge Vaughn Walker’s Final Questions

I really like the questions Judge Vaughn Walker gave both sides of the Perry v. Schwarzenegger (is it okay if I call it P-Schwarz?) trial yesterday. Because they are pointed, prescient, and so easy an eight-year-old could answer them. Well, with the help of FindLaw.

The mini quiz came yesterday as each side prepares for next week’s closing arguments in the trial that will decide, uh, who appeals the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. Some nine pages of Qs came that Walker wants addressed, and dammit, they’re good ones.

The San Francisco Chronicle outlines a few, like these for Prop 8’s supporters:

What evidence at the trial, he asked, showed that same-sex nuptials are “a drastic or far-reaching change to the institution of marriage?” Do California laws allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt and raise children undermine the argument that banning same-sex marriage would promote children’s welfare?

And if many voters were simply expressing their moral and religious preferences, Walker asked, “why is legislating based on moral disapproval of homosexuality not tantamount to discrimination?”

But my favorite is the one he posed to opponents of Prop 8: How can marriage between gay or lesbian couples be a fundamental right in a nation that denied all legal protection to their relationships until very recently?

And the non-lawyer in me wants to point to slavery, bans on interracial marriage, and women’s suffrage, and just go, “Because this great country sometimes makes terrible mistakes that last for hundreds of years. But it’s never too late to fix them.”