September 17, 2010
By Eden James
The defendant-intervenors filed their written arguments to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals shortly after 9 p.m. PST — just 3 hours before the court’s deadline. We will be posting it here ASAP.
According to Lisa Leff at the Associated Press, it targets Judge Vaughn Walker for being “egregiously selective and one-sided.” More to come.
UPDATE: Here it is (h/t to both Kathleen, in this thread, and Ann S. in the previous thread, where the news broke almost immediately in the comments):
More from the Associated Press:
In written arguments to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, lawyers for the ban’s sponsors alleged that Chief U.S. Judge Vaughn Walker “quite willfully” disregarded a 1972 U.S. Supreme Court precedent and other relevant information when he decided the voter-approved measure was an unconstitutional violation of gay Californians’ civil rights.
“The district court based its findings almost exclusively on an uncritical acceptance of the evidence submitted by Plaintiffs’ experts, and simply ignored virtually everything — judicial authority, the works of eminent scholars past and present in all relevant academic fields, extensive historical and documentary evidence — that ran counter to its conclusions,” they wrote in their 134-page opening brief.
UPDATE: Trial Trackers are quickly digesting the document and posting their thoughts in the comments. Below are some of the best comments posted so far.
I’ve just read the Proponents brief. The problem I think that they have is the cursory treatment given to Lawrence v Texas, and to a lesser extent, Romer v Evans, which cases have so changed the landscape regaring the classification of lesbian and gay people, to the extent that Baker v Nelson is unlikely any longer to be good law. Whilst Lawrence specifically did not mandate recognition of gay marriage, which it could not and was not required to do, since the subject matter under discussion was a Texas criminal statute, it did not foreclose such a finding in future cases. It merely left that argument to be made in future cases. Lawrence did not apply standard rational review. It applied some higher level of scrutiny, whether rational review with bite or intermediate scrutiny. Thus the Propents complaints on rational basis review are probably nothing to the point.
The brief is noticeably silent on Justice Scalia’s dissent in Lawrence too, where he asserted, rightly, that if moral approbation was not an acceptable basis upon which to legislate against lesbians and gays as a class, then same sex marriage could not be prevented either, because procreation was not and never has been a requirement for marriage.
Justice Ginsberg’s recent note in Christian Legal Soc v Martinez that the USSC”s recent jurisprudence does not distinguish between behaviour and status as regards lesbians and gays also goes unmentioned.
“Lightning Baltimore” posted this gem of a quote from page 33 of the brief:
The State, it follows, “has no obligation to produce evidence to sustain the rationality of” its laws. Heller, 509 U.S. at 320 (emphasis added). To the contrary, the State’s “legislative choice is not subject to courtroom factfinding and may be based on rational speculation unsupported by evidence or empirical data.”
Here is Kathleen Perrin’s response to the above quote:
It’s true that it can be based on rational speculation…. but the key word here is “rational.”
IF the standard of review is only “rational basis”, then the court can actually come up with its own rationale for the law, even if the parties have not presented one. However, neither the Proponents nor Walker could come up with any justification for the law that was “rationally related” to a “legitimate” government interest.
They wrote: “The trial proceedings were skewed from the outset, given that four of Proponents’ expert witnesses refused to testify…”
Basically they are claiming that the fact that the judge videotaped the proceedings EVEN THOUGH NOT FOR BROADCAST scared away the experts. And THAT is why they had no evidence! The fact that they were unable to explain properly to their own witnesses that this was for court records, not broadcast is why this should be overturned.
This leaves me somewhat speechless. I think that Olson and Boies must be laughing their asses off somewhere right now, as they read this.
UPDATE (h/t to Kathleen): Imperial County just filed their brief on the standing issue:
Finally, AFER released the following statement shortly after the Prop 8 legal team filed their brief earlier tonight:
OFFICIAL PROP. 8 PLAINTIFFS’ STATEMENT ON TODAY’S 9th CIRCUIT FILING
Statement from Chad Griffin, Board President, American Foundation for Equal Rights
“Regardless of the defendant-intervenors’ protests, the fact remains that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, as was proven conclusively and unequivocally through a full federal trial. There is no getting around the fact that the court’s decision was based on our nation’s most fundamental principles, and that the Constitution does not permit unequal treatment under the law,” said Chad Griffin, Board President of the American Foundation for Equal Rights. “We are eager to proceed with affirming the unconstitutionality of Prop. 8, and the equality of all Americans, in the Ninth Circuit and the Supreme Court.”
The American Foundation for Equal Rights is the sole sponsor of the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case. After bringing together Theodore Olson and David Boies to lead its legal team, the Foundation successfully advanced the Perry case through Federal District Court and is now leading it through the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals before the case is brought to the United States Supreme Court.
The plaintiffs in the case are two couples — Kris Perry & Sandy Stier and Paul Katami & Jeff Zarrillo — who wish to marry but cannot because of Proposition 8.
Kris and Sandy have been together for more than ten years and their family includes four boys. Both are in public service — Kris leads a childhood health and education agency and Sandy works for a county health department. Their home life centers around their kids, with PTA meetings, soccer and music lessons taking up much of their free time.
Paul and Jeff have been together for nine years. Jeff is a general manager for a movie theater company and Paul is a business owner. They own a home together and are proud uncles.
Leading civil rights organizations, legal scholars, doctors, scientists, and religious organizations filed amicus briefs in support of the the Foundation’s case, including: the California NAACP, Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF), Asian Law Caucus, National Black Justice Coalition, South Asian Bar Association of Northern California, ACLU, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, National Center for Lesbian Rights, retired California Court of Appeal Justice Donald King, family law professors from across the state, American Anthropological Association, American Psychoanalytic Association, National Association of Social Workers, and the American Academy of Pediatrics California Chapter.
The American Foundation for Equal Rights Advisory Board is co-chaired by John Podesta, head of the progressive Center for American Progress, and Robert Levy, head of the libertarian Cato Institute. The Board also includes former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, UFW founder Dolores Huerta and FOX News Commentator Margaret Hoover.
For complete information about the case, including court documents, photographs, video and more, visit www.equalrightsfoundation.org .
Specifically, the District Court’s comprehensive, 136-page decision may be found here: www.equalrightsfoundation.org/legal-filings/district-court-decision/
A summary of the trial is available here: www.equalrightsfoundation.org/press-releases/perry-v-schwarzenegger-trial-summary/
Video evidence and other court filings are available here: www.equalrightsfoundation.org/our-work/legal-filings/
“More than 30 years ago, the United States Supreme Court recognized that marriage is one of the basic rights of man,” the original suit against Prop. 8 stated, referring to the Court’s decision in Loving v. Virginia, which struck down bans on interracial marriage.