Proposition 8 Argued Before California Supreme Court
Well I'm no legal scholar but it didn't look good to me, folks. I hope I'm wrong. Looks like we've got a long row to hoe. The court has 90 days to rule.
Didn't look good to the Mercury News either.
Two quick impressions, just from watching the proceedings, were that Justice Joyce Kennard, who was in the majority 4-3 ruling for the legalization of same-sex marriage last May and was the only justice in that majority to vote against hearing the challenges to Proposition 8 seemed to take an immediately aggressive position toward those challenging the measure. And Kenneth Starr, who immediately followed a rather bumbling and hesitant performance by Christopher Krueger, senior assistant attorney general under Attorney General Jerry Brown, displayed an almost arrogant ease in the courtroom that was only magnified by Krueger's fits and starts. I should add that I thought Shannon Minter and Therese Stewart both did very good jobs in arguing the case.
The L.A. Times reports: "[Chief Justice Ronald] George seemed to signal that the justices' hands may be tied in invalidating ballot initiatives that amend the constitution, as Proposition 8 did. 'That is the system we have to live with until and unless it is changed,' the chief justice told the initiative opponents."
Here's the paper's summation: "During a three-hour televised hearing in San Francisco, only two of the court's seven justices indicated a possible readiness to overturn the initiative. Chief Justice Ronald M. George noted that the court was following a different Constitution when it approved gay marriage last May. 'Today we have a different state Constitution,' he said. Justice Joyce L. Kennard, who usually votes in favor of gay rights, voted against accepting the revision challenge to Proposition 8 but said she would hear arguments over the validity of existing same-sex marriages. Kennard said during the hearing that 'Prop. 8 did not take away the whole bundle of rights that this court articulated in the marriage case.' She said that 'a very important holding' – giving sexual orientation the same constitutional status as race or gender – was not changed. 'Is it still your view that the sky has fallen and gays and lesbians are left with nothing?' she asked gay rights lawyers? Kennard told them they also had the right to return to voters with their own initiative.
SF Chronicle: "Justice Joyce Kennard...said at one point that opponents of the measure would have the court choose between 'two rights ... the inalienable right to marry and the right of the people to change the constitution as they see fit. And what I'm picking up from the oral argument in this case is this court should willy-nilly disregard the will of the people.'"
L.A. Times: "An interaction between Chief Justice Ronald George and Kenneth Starr, who is defending Proposition 8, gets to the heart of the argument. Starr argues that voters have an inalienable right to amend the state constitution as they see fit through simple majority vote, including 'things that tug at the equality principle.' But George leans in on the question and asks whether, if Proposition 8 had specifically said that homosexuals had no right to form a family relationship or raise children, that still could be done by amendment? Starr replies yes. George pursues it further, asking if California voters could remove the right to free speech? Starr says yes."
What were your thoughts? Impressions?
If anyone locates an embeddable video archive, let me know at tips - at - towleroad.com and I'll post it up.