NCLR Reacts To Prop 8 Hearing

Via press release:

Today, Chief Judge James Ware of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California heard arguments on a motion to invalidate former U.S. District Court Chief Judge Vaughn Walker’s landmark ruling striking down Proposition 8.

Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell:

“Today’s hearing made it crystal clear that the Prop 8 proponents’ central claim–that Judge Walker should have recused himself from the case because he is in a same-sex relationship–is absolutely baseless. During the hearing, Judge Ware pointedly asked the attorney for the proponents whether an African-American judge would have to recuse himself from a race discrimination case because some people might view him as biased. As Judge Ware’s question artfully showed, our legal system does not assume that judges who are in the majority with respect to their race, religion, sexual orientation or any other personal characteristic are the only ones who can be unbiased. Judges take an oath to be impartial and do their job faithfully. It is outrageous and offensive to suggest that a gay judge is incapable of fulfilling that vow, or that Judge Walker did not do so in this case. We are hopeful that the ruling will dismiss this bigoted attempt to discredit Judge Walker’s eminently sound ruling that concluded correctly, after weeks of trial and months of careful consideration, that Prop 8 is unconstitutional.”

A ruling is expected within 24 hours.

UPDATE: Lambda Legal weighs in.

“Instead of putting Prop 8 on trial, the proponents attempted to put the judge who presided over the case on trial. But the absurdity and offensiveness of the Proponents’ position – that a gay judge cannot decide a civil rights issue – became even more apparent under the court’s rigorous questioning. Apparently, the Proponents also believe that the impartiality of female judges who have been the victims of rape is open to question in cases involving sexual assault. The court is likely to deny this motion for what it is: a desperate and dangerous witch hunt for gay judges that comes at the expense of judicial integrity.”