Opinionated @ CFE

Judge Walker Goes to Crazytown


I’ve already said that I think that Judge Walker made the right call on the Prop 8 case based on the evidence (or lack thereof) presented. Now, however, he’s hinting at a decision so bad it has to be crazy. It’s being reported that he does not believe that the team that defended Prop 8 can file an appeal of his decision.

The argument is that because the defenders of the initiative suffer no obvious repercussions should they lose, they therefore don’t have standing to challenge the decision, a right reserved primarily to the governor and attorney general. Both of those parties didn’t even choose to defend against the lawsuit in court, so the likelihood of them filing an appeal is non-existent. As Dale Carpenter, a constitutional law professor put it:

[Y]ou can sponsor a proposition, direct it, research it, work for it, raise $40 million for it, get it on a ballot, successfully campaign for it and then have no ability to defend it independently in court.

He didn’t even get to the part where they were allowed to defend it, but not allowed to file an appeal. You can bet, however, that the opposing side would not have the same restriction placed upon them. Does that sound fair to you?

At the core, this sets a terrible precedent for the citizen initiative process. If a citizen-driven initiative can only be defended in an appellate court by a handful of elected officials, all of which are hostile to that initiative, then what’s the point of allowing another party to defend it at trial, much less launch an initiative to begin with? He’s basically saying that the governor and AG hold an unofficial veto power. Regardless of where you stand on Prop 8 itself, that precedent is horrible.

I hope the higher courts will see the giant gaping flaws and obvious double-standards in Judge Walker’s opinion on the appeal and blow it straight out the water.

Prop 8 is Still Far From Settled


I saw a lot of comment almost immediately on Twitter after it was announced that the judge in the case to overturn California’s Proposition 8 had declared the ballot measure to be an un-Constitutional violation of the 14th Amendment. Despite both cheering and booing of the decision, everyone is missing the point that the matter isn’t anywhere near over. There will be an appeal to the 9th Circuit, and most likely it will continue to the Supreme Court. (It’s anyone’s guess as to if the SCOTUS will choose to hear the case or not.) Any victory dancing or lamentations are premature, especially since a stay on the ruling as part of the appeal is very likely.

Quite honestly, Judge Walker made the right decision. The arguments in favor of Prop 8 were weak and amateurish. (ONE witness? Seriously guys?) None of the defendants in the case, including the Governor and Attorney General, chose to argue the government’s case in favor of it. Any judge who actually ruled in their favor would have been rightfully ridiculed as out of his mind.

Blatant Hypocrisy


If there’s one thing most of us can agree on, it’s that double standards are bad. We expect to be held to the same rules and laws as everyone else. Unfortunately, too many will happily apply differing standards when it suits their purposes. This week’s endorsement by the LDS Church of Salt Lake City’s anti-discrimination ordinance is one such instance where the standard changed depending on which side of the issue the player was supporting.

Rewind your brain to last year. Do you recall some of the statements being made regarding the LDS Church and Prop 8? There was a loud group shrilly crying that churches had no place in the political process whatsoever. So what did these same people do when the LDS Church once again involved itself in the political process with its public endorsement of this new ordinance? Were there calls to get out the political process? In-your-face demonstrations at places of worship? Petition drives topped out with hyperbolic appropriation of historical emblems?

No, it was silence. Deafening silence. Not a discernible peep of protest that the mean old nasty Church was trying to mix politics and religion yet again.

Apparently, it’s just fine for churches to be involved in the political process so long as they are on the “right” side of the issue. (I noted the same hypocrisy when churches were demonstrating in favor of President Obama’s proposed healthcare legislation.) This kind of blatant hypocrisy has no place in the political process. You can either claim that churches have no right to participate in the political process or you can accept their endorsements of issues you support, but not both.

(Now before you start thinking that the former of these two is the better option, I would remind you that churches played significant roles in the American Revolution, abolition, and the civil rights movement. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was also Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

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