Big news from the Ninth Circuit today! The Prop 8 proponents have been throwing up one delay after another, slowing progress in the case to a crawl. Their latest trick: asking the Ninth Circuit to discard the Proponents’ latest loss and start the trial over from scratch. That would have meant big delays, but the Ninth Circuit is having none of it: today they issued a ruling that amounts to, “nah, we’re good.”
Want some more nitty gritty? Of course you do, who doesn’t like nitty gritty? So here’s a vid from AFER, explaining what just happened and what comes next.
I believe this is headed for an anticlimactic, but joyous, end where the Supreme Court declines for lack of standing.
In the article two doors down from this one, there are some saying that SCOTUS will refuse to take this case, to which I replied,’I remember when Judge Vaughn Walker was taking this case and people came out of the woodwork to douse our enthusiasm. They were wrong on all predictions. Let’s proceed and continue to fight for equality. This fight is not going away and every day that passes where some Americans are held in second class status is illegal. SCOTUS is seeing the Nation being torn apart by all of the law suits, careers off of our backs, and money exchanging hands over this illegal discrimination, so they may rule on this case, or wait for a bigger Massachusetts-DOMA-fish, known primarily by their shiny, bright, rainbow scales of justice. Equality is inevitable. Two tiers of rights cannot be supported. Religious beliefs have no place coercing civil law. My hope is that this will be settled once and for all, but it might have to be a bigger fish.”
AFER, how off are we? Are we misunderstanding something? Will SCOTUS refuse to take this case? If so, what does this mean to LGBT enduring painful second class status for even longer? Thanks for fighting for us!
Well, why WOULD they take the case? To uphold it as-is doesn’t seem likely. To strike it down… well, not exactly a possibility we want. To expand it beyond California? Nice that would be, but there’s a high chance the court isn’t ready for that yet. Especially when there are so many other cases headed their way that challenge DOMA instead: more frustrating, but far easier from their angle, to say first that the federal government should defer to the states about who is and isn’t married, then let it sit at that a few years.
Or they could declare the appeals court’s reasoning invalid and *send the case back to them* to consider the parts they said are unnecessary, that being the bulk of the original trial… and wouldn’t THAT be a fun waste of a couple of years?
@1equalityUSA: Even if SCOTUS were to take Perry, it would be HIGHLY unlikely that the outcome would be ending marriage inequality across the country. Typically, the Supremes either affirm what the lower court, in this case the Ninth, has decided or reverse it. Since the Ninth’s ruling in Perry relies on the existence of civil unions or domestic partnerships with identical rights/responsibilities in order to strike down Prop 8, the largest possible universe where this would apply would be those states that have DPs/Civil Unions. If SCOTUS further relies on the somewhat strange Romer reasoning that marriage rights must first be granted, then taken away, then the universe shrinks to California, and perhaps Maine and Hawaii (and maybe Washington and Maryland, depending on how those votes go).
For SCOTUS to take Perry and then issue a ruling that goes way above and beyond what the appellate court did would be highly unusual. So I doubt that this will do anything to help the situation in the vast middle of the country.
Its extremely likely Scotus will take the case and I believe extremely likely the court will overrule the reasoning of the Appeals Court. Now i suppose there’s some chance the court will rule on broad grounds that outlawing SSM is unconstitutional, but i think its more likely they go the other way. The “narrow” opinion by Reinhardt is logically incoherent. The idea that a state can deny a right only so long as it never granted it to start with is silly. Scotus routinely overrules Reinhardt’s opinions and i think that’s what will happen here. The court just isn’t ready to overrule the vast majority of state who don’t recognize SSM.
I think section 3 of DOMA has a much better chance of being declared unconstitutional. Its a federal overreach and striking it down doesn’t overrule state laws.
I’d also like to point out to the “don’t vote on rights” crowd that having courts as the primary defenders of right is a relatively recent development. Slavery wasn’t outlawed by the courts, but by the democratic process enacting the 13th amendment (and the civil war). Women and people of color didn’t get the right to vote through a court case either, but through laws enacted by state legislatures, the constitutional amendment process, and the civil right act. The idea that the democratic process should be abandoned is both counter productive and dangerous. Courts can get it wrong (Plessy v. Ferguson) Like it or not eventually you have to convince a majority of people to support your rights. Its a much longer and more difficult process than the courts. But much more permanent than a disputed court case.
@bystander: So: you’re suggesting that, rather than relying on the courts for civil rights issues, we should go back to the old method of settling them BY WAR?
Thanks, Sam. It gives me a headache sorting all of this out. The law suits are starting to pile up. Is there a point where it is beneficial for the health of the Nation to make a ruling on this two-tiered set of rights? Will it come from Massachusetts? Chicago?
@bystander: Wow, Plessy v Ferguson. Using historical evidence, I see.
No. 2 · 1equalityUSA wrote, “In the article two doors down from this one, there are some saying that SCOTUS will refuse to take this case, to which I replied,’I remember when Judge Vaughn Walker was taking this case and people came out of the woodwork to douse our enthusiasm.”
The Supreme Court may very well decide not to take this case – that’s what happens to nearly all cases appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. According to http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_happens_if_the_Supreme_Court_refuses_to_hear_a_case the rejection rate is 98 to 99 percent. If this site is accurate, the Supreme Court gets between 7500 and 8500 cases per year and hears 80 to 150. With that sort of refusal rate, guessing that the Supreme Court will not hear the case is pretty much equivalent to predicting that it won’t rain on the gay pride parade in San Francisco, which is held on the last Sunday in June (a prediction I’ll make for this year).
BTW, dousing enthusiasm was a perfectly reasonable thing to do before the Prop 8 trial was over – regardless of which side one was commenting on. As a federal judge and given his previous behavior, it was clear that Judge Walker would do a conscientious job and rule on the case’s merits, not on his own personal likes or dislikes. Fortunately, we had two outstanding attorneys going up against people who were totally outclassed and unprepared in comparison, something you would not have been able to predict in advance. If told half of what happened as a prediction, the obvious thing to say would have been “nobody could be that dumb,” only to find that the idiots fooled you by being even dumber than you could possibly believe.
Also, NOM et al., aside from stating that there will be an appeal, are oddly silent on the ruling. Could it be that they see the proverbial writing on the wall?
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