Protect Marriage, the group of “traditional marriage” supporters who successfully got Prop 8 on California’s ballot and saw it pass in 2008, want federal judge Vaughn Walker’s decision — which ruled the same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional — voided because Walker acknowledged he is in a long-term same-sex relationship.
Claiming Walker’s “impartiality might reasonably have been questioned from the outset,” Protect Marriage’s lead counsel, Andy Pugno has demanded the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which is already reviewing Judge Walker’s ruling on appeal, vacate the entire ruling.
“Fundamental to the integrity of the judicial function, and therefore to public confidence in
the courts, is the judiciary’s strict fidelity to the ancient maxim that ‘no man can be a judge in his
own case and no man is permitted to try cases where he has an interest in the outcome’,” write the pro-Prop 8 lawyers in a court filing Monday.
“If at any time while this case was pending before him, Chief Judge Walker and his partner determined that they desired, or might desire, to marry, Chief Judge Walker plainly had an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding,” say lawyers for Protect Marriage.
Walker acknowledged his relationship several weeks ago, although it was considered common knowledge by both sides before the trial began that Walker is gay.
But AFER, the American Foundation For Equal Rights, who hired Ted Olsen and David Boies to prosecute the case against Protect Marriage, call Monday’s filing part of “a string of desperate and absurd motions by the Proposition 8 proponents who refuse to accept their loss in district court,” and add, “They’re attacking the judge because they disagree with his decision.”
Walker recently called the use of any personal characteristics to disqualify a judge a “very slippery slope.”
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