August 31, 2010
By Andy Kelley
A conservative legal group is attempting to use the courts to force California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown to defend Proposition 8 in court.
As reported late this afternoon by the Associated Press:
The Pacific Justice Institute petitioned the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento on Monday for an emergency order that would require state officials to appeal a ruling that overturned Proposition 8.
Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker struck down the voter-approved measure as unconstitutional last month.
Its sponsors have appealed. But doubts have been raised about whether they have authority to do so because as ordinary citizens they are not responsible for enforcing marriage laws.
Though the state of California has until September 11th to file an appeal of Judge Walker’s ruling, both Schwarzenegger and Brown have stated they have no intention to do so.
Rick Jacobs, Founder and Chair of the Courage Campaign Institute called their lawsuit “the height of hypocrisy…frivolous and desperate” and released the following statement questioning why California taxpayers should be forced to defend a law which has already been declared to violate the United States Constitution:
COURAGE CAMPAIGN BLASTS EFFORT TO FORCE GOVERNOR AND ATTORNEY GENERAL TO DEFEND PROP. 8
Jacobs calls Conservative Groups’ lawsuit “the height of hypocrisy…frivolous and desperate”
LOS ANGELES: Earlier today, the conservative Pacific Justice Institute petitioned California’s 3rd District Court of Appeals to force Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown to appeal a Federal District Court ruling that declared California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional.
Proponents of the law have pledged to appeal the District Court ruling—which found California’s ban against same-sex marriage to be a violation of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution—to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Both Brown and Schwarzenegger have publicly declined to appeal the District Court ruling.
In response to today’s events, Courage Campaign Founder and Chairman Rick Jacobs has issued the following statement:
“With California laying off teachers, police and firefighters amidst an unprecedented budget crisis, it is the height of hypocrisy for so called ‘conservatives’ to demand that California taxpayers foot the bill to defend a discriminatory law that has already been declared unconstitutional in federal court. This frivolous action shows just how out of touch and desperate those who seek to limit the freedoms of loving American families have become.”
More updates to come as news develops…
UPDATE BY EDEN: Karen Ocamb has quotes from the Pacific Justice Institute, Lambda Legal and Equality California along with some incendiary footage from Right-Wing Watch:
In a blog on their website, PJI posits failure to uphold Prop 8 as a “constitutional crisis:”
“California is teetering on the precipice of a constitutional crisis. Former bodybuilder, turned Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, along with former Governor, turned Attorney General, Jerry Brown, are putting their shoulders down to push California’s voters over the cliff. With them, the state’s republican form of government will fall.”
Lambda Legal’s Legal Director Jon Davidson makes an excellent point about “judicial activism:”
“This latest, desperate move by antigay recognizes that, without an appeal by Gov. Schwarzenegger or Attorney General Jerry Brown, the Perry case may be over and Prop. 8 a relic of the past. It’s ironic that groups that regularly attack the judiciary are now asking judges to second guess the highest members of the state’s executive branch who correctly have decided that Prop. 8 so clearly violates the U.S. Constitution that it cannot in good faith be defended. Those officials swore to uphold the federal Constitution which, under our federal system of government, overrides state law.”
Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors issued this statement in response to the PJI action:
“This is an outrageous attempt to try and force elected officials who have sworn to uphold the United States Constitution to defend a law that the Federal Court has found to be unconstitutional. It demonstrates their acknowledgement that the proponents of Proposition 8 lack standing to appeal, that the case should be dismissed and loving same-sex couples should be allowed to exercise their constitutional right to marry.”