Boies and Olson to go after ‘Yes on 8’ Campaign

Gabriel Arana

August 18th, 2009

I have been following the federal challenge to Prop 8, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, and thought I would give BTB readers an update (there’s not much in the rest of the LGBT press).

As you might remember, former Bush v. Gore foes Boies and Olson sparked controversy among gay legal rights groups after teaming up to file a federal challenge to Prop. 8 in California District Court. Organizations like Lambda Legal, which have spent years focusing on incremental legal wins are afraid it’s not the right time to put all the movement’s chips on the table, but seeing as Boies and Olson are going ahead anyway, they want in on the action and have asked to join the suit.

Judge Walker is set to hear opposing arguments tomorrow over whether they should be allowed in, a motion Boies and Olson have opposed. My guess is that the judge will allow Lambda Legal, the City of San Francisco, and similar organization to join the suit, or at least that’s what I hope; these organizations have been fighting the good fight long before the fame-mongering pair came on the scene.

Today, all parties to the suit filed another round of “case management statements,” proposals that outline what the trial will cover, what legal questions will be addressed, and which sort of evidence will be gathered and presented.  What is interesting about these statements is that the case is shaping up to be much broader than the state challenge to Prop. 8, which hinged on the technical distinction between an “amendment” and a “revision.”

Crucially, the plaintiffs plan to go after the Yes on 8 Campaign to show that they were motivated by anti-gay animus. This will involve having the Yes on 8 people testify and hand over documents relevant to the campaign.

If some gay rights groups were frustrated by the legal language and fine lines involved in the state challenge, this is looking like it will be the big fight they wanted.

Stay tuned.

Timothy Kincaid

August 18th, 2009

Gabe,

Thanks for the update.

Gabriel Arana

August 18th, 2009

No worries, Tim. I will let you all know what happens tomorrow.

Warren

August 18th, 2009

I would prefer Lambda et al. stay out of it. I support many of these groups financially and think they do terrific work with excellent motivations for the most part. But I think they lack the experience, tenacity and toughness that Olson and Boies bring. These guys are probably the two most succesful, toughest and smartest lawyers in the country. If anyone can bring a successful suit they can. After watching Ken Starr destroy our side in the CA case, it was clear that we just don’t have the firepower in our groups that we need. Olson and Boies will demolish the Liberty Counsel, Pretence, Schubert and the rest. They’re fearless and not afraid to play just as dirty as the other side. It is to our org’s credit that they all too often take the high road, but as we saw in Prop. 8 being right doesn’t get you very far in the face of lies and distortions. We have yet to craft a forceful answer to these bigots, and the strategy of calling them out, putting them on the stand and holding them accountable is what’s needed. This team is far better equipped than the traditional gay org’s to achieve this.

Priya Lynn

August 18th, 2009

They’re fearless and not afraid to play just as dirty as the other side.

So, you want them to lie left, right, and centre to achieve this?

It is to our org’s credit that they all too often take the high road, but as we saw in Prop. 8 being right doesn’t get you very far in the face of lies and distortions. We have yet to craft a forceful answer to these bigots, and the strategy of calling them out, putting them on the stand and holding them accountable is what’s needed.

Taking the high road doesn’t mean we can’t craft a forceful answer, call them out, or put them on the stand and hold them accountable.

Penguinsaur

August 18th, 2009

“Crucially, the plaintiffs plan to go after the Yes on 8 Campaign to show that they were motivated by anti-gay animus. This will involve having the Yes on 8 people testify and hand over documents relevant to the campaign.”

Wait, they’re actually gonna make these bigots stand before a judge, hand on the bible, and explain how they don’t hate gays but spent truckloads of money taking rights away from them?
I’d pay to watch that.

lurkere

August 18th, 2009

Did you see this frontpage NYTimes bio on Olson?

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/19/us/19olson.html?hp

pretty nice piece.

lurker

August 18th, 2009

and the times also has some interesting related commentary . . .

http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/18/ted-olsons-supreme-court-adventure/

Warren

August 19th, 2009

I didn’t want to imply that they should lie, just fight fire with fire. No On 8 had pathetic counter arguments in all but one ad (the one with the Schools Superintendent). That was the only time they got close to calling out the lies from the other side. ALL or at least most of the ads should have been drubbing the theme that is was shameful, unAmerican and bigoted to take away rights, and unmask the entire Yes on 8 campaign as ‘motivated by anti-gay bias’. Unfortunately I saw no such fire or backbone in the CA case either. It’s clear that being nice and meek is going to get us no-where. I hope the Maine campaign is much more forceful.

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