The Daily Agenda for Thursday, November 17

Jim Burroway

November 17th, 2011

CA Supreme Court To Issue Ruling on Prop 8 Appeals Standing: San Francisco, CA. There is a slim chance (in my opinion, at least), that tomorrow might be the day when marriage equality effectively returns to California. To see how that might happen, let’s review: On August 4, 2010, Federal District Judge Walker Vaughn found Prop 8 unconstitutional because, as the lawyers arguing against Prop 8 put it, junk science, fear and prejudice were put in trial and lost. Conservatives tried to force Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown to file an appeal, but the California Supreme Court said they didn’t have to if they didn’t want to. Which they didn’t. That was kind of important because it wasn’t clear that anyone besides the governor and attorney general had standing for appeal. Since this involved California law, the Federal Appeals Court asked the California Supreme Court to perform one of the roles that state supreme courts are supposed to do and Federal courts are not qualified to do: interpret California law and tell the Feds whether the authors of Prop 8 had standing to defend Prop 8 on appeals.

While that was going on, Judge Walker decided to come out of the closet, which sent Prop 8 supporters in a tizzy. So Prop 8 supporters sued to overturn Walker’s ruling because gay judges can’t rule on gay issues, just like women judges can’t rule on women’s issues and black judges can’t rule on black issues. Oh, wait. It was a black judge they got to hear the case. Good thing that wasn’t really their argument, but the one they did try to use wasn’t any better.  The new judge upheld Walker’s ruling, so now we’re back to waiting on the California Supreme Court to decide whether Prop 8 supports have standing to appeal.

And that wait ends tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. PST. If the California Supremes advise the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that Prop 8 supporters don’t have standing to appeal, then the Appeals Court is likely to accept that advice and rule the case over with Judge Walker’s ruling intact. If that happens, then it’s a crap shoot as to whether the U.S. Supreme Court would even accept an appeal of the Ninth Circuit Court’s ruling, although that remains a possibility. It’s also possible though that the Appeals Court may still want to hear more briefs and more arguments before they are prepared to rule on the issue of standing for Federal Court.

However, if the California Supremes say that Prop 8 supports do have standing to appeal, then we have another long schedule before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for briefs, argument, and ruling on the appeal itself. And then, almost certainly, it goes to the U.S. Supreme Court.

If I were a betting man, I’d bet that the CA Supremes rule that Prop 8 supporters have standing. I doubt that for a question this important they’d be willing to effectively stop the process in its tracks right now on what many would see as a technicality. I really don’t see nondiscriminatory California marriage licenses showing up anytime in the near future. But hey, I’m not a lawyer. What’s your bet? Betting closes at 10:00 a.m. PST.

Transgender Day of Remembrance Several locations. While Sunday is officially the day set aside to remember those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia, some TDoR events are taking place today and through the weekend. TDoR began in reaction to the brutal murder of Rita Hester, who was killed on November 28, 1998. Her murder resulted in the creation of the Remembering Our Dead web site and a candlelight vigil in 1999. Observances typically consist of the reading of the names of those who have died because of their gender identity, expression, presentation or perception of gender variance. Observances are being held in cities all around the world. Click here to find an observance near you.

Transgender Day of Action: Washington, D.C. The nation’s capital has been the scene for several violent attacks against transgender and gender variant people, including LaShai McClean on July 20, and Gaurav Gopalan on September 10 (Golpan was a gay man dressed in drag when he was attacked). Beginning at 1:00 p.m. today, a broad coalition of organizations and concerned DC residents will be hand-delivering written goals, demands, and deadlines aimed at stemming the escalation of violent crimes against Transgender people in the District. Starting with Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier and U.S. District Attorney for Washington, DC (DA USAO) Ron Machen, who oversees the city’s federally-administered justice system, the activists will continue with Mayor Vincent Gray, and all 13 City DC Councilmembers. Click here for more details.

If you know of something that belongs on the Agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

As always, please consider this your open thread for the day.

Mark F.

November 17th, 2011

I bet that the California Supreme Court rules that the supporters of Prop 8 have standing by a vote of 7-0.


November 17th, 2011

Two hours to go. I’m hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. I don’t think they have standing and I don’t think it would be beneficial to establish standing in these circumstances (gov and ag won’t defend) since it happens so rarely. They didn’t overturn the will of the people, the court did because of constitution issues.


November 17th, 2011

My bet: no standing. Otherwise in a state that has a zillion propositions on every statewide ballot, standing would be conferred on any organization seeking any kind of litigation.

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