November elections could change the face and tone of Prop 8 litigation

by on June 19, 2010  •  In Elections, States

Karen Ocamb, at LGBT POV, is pointing out the importance of this year's elections to future stages in the fight over the validity of Prop 8:

Barely mentioned in coverage of the closing arguments was the extremely important political context in which these arguments are being decided.

This November, Attorney General Jerry Brown – who refused to defend Prop 8 in court because he believes it’s unconstitutional – is running for governor. It is likely that if elected, he will continue to refuse to defend Prop 8 in court – just as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has done. However, if Brown’s Republican challenger Meg Whitman is elected, the case might change. Whitman voted for Prop 8 and will likely order that it be defended in the Ninth Circuit, joining Cooper and the Protect Marriage group.

Additionally – San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, who is running to be Attorney General – says that she, like Brown, would refuse to defend Prop 8 in court. However, her opponent, Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley said he would defend Prop 8 in court.

Everyone, on both sides, expects Judge Walker to rule that Prop 8 is unconstitutional. Then the case moves to the Ninth Circuit, where the plaintiffs could face a significantly tougher bench. In the trial court, the defenders of Prop 8 have seemed almost pathetically the odd man out, sometimes to the point of laughter in the courtroom. If the state of California takes an active role in defending Prop 8 in the Court of Appeals, that dynamic could shift significantly.


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