Gill and Perry cases shape up for appeals

by on August 21, 2010  •  In DoMA, Marriage

Judge Tauro has entered an amended judgment in Gill v. OPM. This is the formal order that declares the relief due each plaintiff; it does not alter the content of the opinion issued in July, which contains the constitutional analysis. One effect of the formal judgment is that it starts the clock ticking on appeals deadlines; the Justice Department now has until October 18 to file its notice of appeal.

In Perry, Imperial County has appealed Judge Walker's ruling denying its motion to intervene as defendant. This is important, because if the Ninth Circuit allows intervention, an official government entity would be defending Prop 8, and the question of the standing of the Prop 8 proponents would become less central. Imperial County's appeal is set to proceed on the same timetable as the rest of the Perry case, so that the county's case will be included at oral argument. The county is being represented by lawyers from Advocates for Faith and Freedom.

For the moment, the big question mark in the Perry case is the November election. A new governor and attorney general will take office in early January, about a month after the case is argued before the Ninth Circuit. If either of those positions is held by a Republican, the question will become whether the new official will seek to reverse the current position of the state not to defend Prop 8, and how such a change will be viewed by the court.

UPDATE – According to the Sacramento Bee, Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman has made it official that she will seek to intervene as a defendant if she is elected:

Responding to a question from The Bee yesterday during a campaign stop, Whitman said, "The issue right now is, as I understand is 'Will Proposition 8 have the appropriate support to actually make an appeal to the circuit court of appeals?'And I think the governor, the attorney general today has to defend the constitution and has to enable the judicial process to go along and has to enable an appeal to go through. So if I was governor, I would give that ruling standing to be able to appeal to the circuit court."

Whitman's campaign later told The Bee that she would become a defendant in the appeal of Walker's ruling if needed.


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