Defendant-intervenors filed briefs with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last night at 9 pm, three hours before the court's deadline, attacking Judge Vaughn Walker and his ruling overturning Prop 8, the AP reports:
In written arguments to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, lawyers for the ban's sponsors alleged that Chief U.S. Judge Vaughn Walker "quite willfully" disregarded a 1972 U.S. Supreme Court precedent and other relevant information when he decided the voter-approved measure was an unconstitutional violation of gay Californians' civil rights.
"The district court based its findings almost exclusively on an uncritical acceptance of the evidence submitted by Plaintiffs' experts, and simply ignored virtually everything — judicial authority, the works of eminent scholars past and present in all relevant academic fields, extensive historical and documentary evidence — that ran counter to its conclusions," they wrote in their 134-page opening brief.
The appealing attorneys, who called two witnesses compared to 18 for the plaintiffs, asked the 9th Circuit to ignore the trial testimony on which Walker laboriously based his opinion, calling it "unreliable and ultimately irrelevant" to whether Proposition 8 passes constitutional muster.
"Having blinded itself to the genuine animating purpose of marriage, the district court was obliged to offer a different rationale for the institution, presumably one that is entirely indifferent to the gender of the spouses," they wrote.
They also characterized as defamatory the judge's conclusion that "moral disapproval" of gay men and lesbians was the main reason voters passed Proposition 8 in November 2008.
The L.A. Times reports that Prop 8 sponsors also argued that unless backers of the measure, like California's Imperial County which has been trying to argue its standing to appeal, are not allowed to appeal, then the judge's ruling overturning Prop 8 should apply only to the two couples named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit:
"If the 9th Circuit decides that neither the sponsors nor Imperial County have standing, Walker's decision should affect only the couples who sued because the lawsuit was not brought on behalf of all gay couples in the state, protectmarriage.com argued. If the ruling were limited, only the two couples could marry. Other same-sex couples in California would continue to be barred from marrying."
Karen Ocamb at LGBT goes through the document, noting that Prop 8 backers cite procreation as the distinguishing characteristic of heterosexual relations:
“Nowhere in its 136-page opinion does the district court even cite any of the evidence overwhelmingly acknowledging responsible procreation and child-rearing as the animating purpose of marriage. All of the evidence – the judicial authority from California and almost every other State, the works of eminent scholars from all relevant academic fields, the extensive historical evidence – is simply ignored. And the district court ignored it quite willfully; in the court’s view, apparently only oral testimony presented at trial constituted “evidence” on the issue (and its treatment of even this evidence was egregiously selective and one-sided….).”
Said Chad Griffin, Board President of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, in a statement: "Regardless of the defendant-intervenors' protests, the fact remains that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, as was proven conclusively and unequivocally through a full federal trial. There is no getting around the fact that the court's decision was based on our nation's most fundamental principles, and that the Constitution does not permit unequal treatment under the law. We are eager to proceed with affirming the unconstitutionality of Prop. 8, and the equality of all Americans, in the Ninth Circuit and the Supreme Court."
Plaintiffs are scheduled to file briefs next month, with oral arguments the first week of December.
Read the brief here: