WaPo Legal Expert: Prop 8 Brief Challenging Walker "Skillfully Done"


Kudos to Cooper &  Kirk! This from the WaPo:, in its court filing, argues that Walker had a responsibility to disclose his relationship before the trial.

“It is important to emphasize at the outset that we are not suggesting that a gay or lesbian judge could not sit on this case,” the group’s attorneys said in their motion, which was submitted to the district court. “Rather, our submission is grounded in the fundamental principle, reiterated in the governing statute, that no judge ‘is permitted to try cases where he has an interest in the outcome.’”

Arthur D. Hellman, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh, called it a “very skillfully done document” because it ties in Walker’s own words from his ruling about marriage.

“He himself has said how beneficial marriage is, and having said all that, wouldn’t a reasonable person think that he would want to?” Hellman said.

But even those who say the argument has merit acknowledge that it may not be enough to persuade a judge to vacate Walker’s ruling. They say Proposition 8 proponents should have raised their concern earlier, when the rumors about Walker’s sexuality began to surface. And they point out that there is no evidence that Walker planned to marry his partner of 10 years.

Still, the challenge may have planted doubt in the public’s mind about Walker’s impartiality, said Gillers, the New York University professor.

“Unfortunately, Walker has muddied the waters and given the opponents of gay marriage the ability to undermine the credibility of his opinion,” he said. “That doesn’t mean the opinion becomes wrong, but it gives the proponents of Proposition 8 ammunition to cast doubt in the public debate.”