Thursday, November 17, 2011

BREAKING: CA Supremes: Prop 8 Backers CAN Defend Measure


New Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye makes a powerful statement about the lawless behavior of the Governor and Attorney General:

"It is essential to the integrity of the initiative process ... that there be someone to assert the state's interest in an initiative's validity on behalf of the people when the public officials who normally assert that interest decline to do so," Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said in her first significant opinion since taking office in January.

"Neither the governor, the attorney general, nor any other executive or legislative official has the authority to veto or invalidate an initiative measure that has been approved by the voters," Cantil-Sakauye said.

UPDATE: The court ruled unanimously. The great Ed Whelan has this short excerpt from the ruling:

"In a postelection challenge to a voter-approved initiative measure, the official proponents of the initiative are authorized under California law to appear and assert the state’s interest in the initiative’s validity and to appeal a judgment invalidating the measure when the public officials who ordinarily defend the measure or appeal such a judgment decline to do so."

Very big news on the Defense of Marriage front. We were sure the court would vote this way, it's a no-brainer, but you never know. Eventually the case will wind up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

From the LA Times legal blog:

"The California Supreme Court decided Thursday that the sponsors of Proposition 8 and other ballot measures are entitled to defend them in court when the state refuses to do so, a ruling likely to spur federal courts to decide the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans.

The state high court’s decision, a defeat for gay rights groups, sets the stage for a federal ruling -- which could go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court -- that would affect marriage bans outside California.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is considering an appeal of a trial judge’s ruling that overturned Proposition 8, had asked the California court to clarify whether state law gives initiative sponsors standing, or legal authority, to defend their measures.

State officials are entitled to champion ballot measures in court, but the governor and the attorney general have refused to defend Proposition 8.

Although the 9th Circuit is not bound by Thursday’s ruling, the decision makes it less likely that the appeals court would decide Proposition 8’s future on narrow, standing grounds.

The 9th Circuit panel considering the gay-marriage dispute indicated in a hearing last December that it was leaning toward overturning Proposition 8 if the standing question could be resolved. Former U.S. Chief District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who has since retired, overturned the marriage ban after a two-week trial that focused on the nature of sexual orientation and the history of marriage.

Gay rights groups argued that ProtectMarriage did not have standing to appeal Walker’s ruling. But they also contended they could win the case in federal courts on constitutional grounds."

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