Prop 8 Arguments: Is Gay Marriage Younger than Cell Phones? What About the Children? Should Post-Menopausal Women Be Allowed to Marry….and Other Pressing Questions (Plus a New Big LAPD Settlement)March 27th, 2013 by Celeste Fremon
PROP 8 CHALLENGER ATTORNEYS DAVID BOIES AND TED OLSON AFTER TUESDAY’S HEARING
It is still something of a miracle that Constitutional attorneys David Boies and Ted Olson—who fought against each other in Bush v. Gore—have been the lawyers who made this case against Proposition 8 possible.
Here’s their post hearing press conference.
Their clients, Sandy Stier, Kris Perry, Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami spoke as well— along with Kris and Sandy’s sons. It is hard to understand how anyone could object to their marrying each other. Very, very hard.
Have a look.
Here, as promised, are a couple of the more intriguing essays and reports on Tuesday morning’s hearing on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8.
DOMA—the Defense of Marriage Act case—is Wednesday.
WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN? PROP 8 AND PROCREATION
Amy Davidson from the New Yorker focuses on the fertility issue—or whatever it was that Prop 8 attorney, Charles Cooper was nattering on about regarding fertility and marriage.
Here’s a clip:
This is what we’ve come down to: a lawyer arguing, before the Supreme Court, that a ban on same-sex marriage should be upheld in the interest of discouraging elderly heterosexual men from cheating on their similarly aged female partners with younger women who might get pregnant. At least, that is what Charles Cooper, the lawyer for the proponents of California’s Proposition 8, seemed to be saying in his very odd exchange with Justice Elena Kagan. She had pointed out, amid his talk of the “historic traditional procreative purposes” of marriage, that infertile couples have every right to marry.
JUSTICE KAGAN: If you are over the age of 55, you don’t help us serve the Government’s interest in regulating procreation through marriage. So why is that different?
MR. COOPER: Your Honor, even with respect to couples over the age of 55, it is very rare that both couples—both parties to the couple are infertile, and the traditional—
JUSTICE KAGAN: No, really, because if the couple—I can just assure you, if both the woman and the man are over the age of 55, there are not a lot of children coming out of that marriage.
MR. COOPER: Your Honor, society’s—society’s interest in responsible procreation isn’t just with respect to the procreative capacities of the couple itself. The marital norm, which imposes the obligations of fidelity and monogamy, Your Honor, advances the interests in responsible procreation by making it more likely that neither party, including the fertile party to that…
His thought was interrupted by an exchange between the Justices, in which Scalia made a joke about Strom Thurmond—presumably referring to his marriage to a twenty-five-year-old when he was sixty-eight, and not to the daughter he fathered, at the age of twenty-two, with a woman whom it was, at the time, illegal for him to marry in his home state of South Carolina. And then, back to Cooper:
MR. COOPER: Very few men—very few men outlive their own fertility. So I just—
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Why, why, why did no one ask Mr. Cooper at this juncture if postmenopausal women should be forbidden to marry? Why??? A glorious opportunity, lost, LOST, I tell you!)
JUSTICE KAGAN: A couple where both people are over the age of 55—
MR. COOPER: I—
JUSTICE KAGAN: A couple where both people are over the age of 55.
MR. COOPER: And Your Honor, again, the marital norm which imposes upon that couple the obligation of fidelity…. It’s designed, Your Honor, to make it less likely that either party to that—to that marriage will engage in irresponsible procreative conduct outside of that marriage. Outside of that marriage.
Read on. Please, read on. (How can you resist? I mean, really???!)
ONLY SCALIA AND ALITO SEEMED TO CONTINUE TO BACK PROP 8, SAYS UCI LAW SCHOOL DEAN ERWIN CHEMERINSKY
Oh, may he be right! Maura Dolan at the LA Times has the story on Chemerinsky’s opining on the Supremes possible opining. (Plus some counter opining by Prop. 8 advocates.)
Here’s a clip:
One leading law professor said he saw little support on the U.S. Supreme Court for keeping Proposition 8, California’s ban on gay marriage.
Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the law school at UC Irvine and a constitutional law professor, said a reading of the transcript showed that several justices were particularly concerned about standing, especially Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
If the court dismisses the appeal on standing, the ruling by a federal district judge would probably stand.
“There might be a majority to leave the district judge’s opinion in place,” Chemerinsky said. “On the other hand, it is also possible the court could reach the merits. Only two justices—Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia—seemed clearly supportive of Proposition 8.”
Gay marriage foes expressed confidence that the U.S. Supreme Court could uphold the state’s ban on same-sex unions after hearing arguments Tuesday.
“I think we are going to win this case,” Andy Pugno, lawyer for Proposition 8 campaign, said. “We definitely represented the winning case today and the justices asked good thoughtful questions and we were able to say everything that we wanted to get in front of the court today.”
Pugno, counsel for Protectmarriage.com, said he was unimpressed by the arguments in favor of lifting the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriages in California.
Chemerinsky thinks that both Kennedy and Roberts are swing votes, not just Kennedy. I tend to agree—both based on pre-hearing logic re: Roberts and his legacy, and based on Roberts’ behavior in Tuesday’s hearing. Let’s hope they both swing with the tide of history.
TRANSCRIPT AND AUDIO FOR TUESDAY’S HEARING….GRAND THEATER (WITH ENORMOUS AMOUNTS AT STAKE)
If you’d like the full transcript of Tuesday’s hearing plus the audio, NPR has it here.
Charles Cooper, who is attorney for Prop 8, was first up. Cooper is clearly an extremely capable attorney. But he sounded nervous in the beginning, thus was a little wordier than might be optimum and got continually interrupted by impatient and keyed up justices, both on the liberal and the conservative side of the matter.
But then Cooper and the justices all seemed to settle down and the exchanges became legally substantive—even if sometimes a bit odd (as with the procreation, women over 55 section excerpted in the New Yorker story above).
Here are a couple of the more interesting moments:
JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: Outside of the - outside of the marriage context, can you think of any other rational basis, reason, for a State using sexual orientation as a factor in denying homosexuals benefits or imposing burdens on them? Is there any other rational decision-making that the Government could make? Denying them a job, not granting them benefits of some sort, any other decision?
MR. COOPER: Your Honor, I cannot. I do not have any — anything to offer you in that regard. I think marriage is -
JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: All right. If that - if that is true, then why aren’t they a class? If they’re a class that makes any other discrimination improper, irrational, then why aren’t we treating them as a class for this one thing? Are you saying that the interest of marriage is so much more compelling than any other interest as they could have?
MR. COOPER: No, Your Honor, we certainly are not. We — we are saying the interest in marriage and the — and the State ‘s interest and society’s interest in what we have framed as responsible pro - procreation is — is vital, but at bottom, with respect to those interests, our submission is that same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples are simply not similarly situated.
But to come back to your precise question, I think, Justice Sotomayor, you’re probing into whether or not sexual orientation ought to be viewed as a quasi-suspect or suspect class, and our position is that it does not qualify under this Court’s standard and - and traditional tests for identifying suspectedness.
The — the class itself is — is quite amorphous. It defies consistent definition as — as the Plaintiffs’ own experts were — were quite vivid on. It — it does not — it — it does not qualify as an accident of birth, immutability in that — in that sense.
And then a classic moment in Scalia-osity in which the good justice musingly wondered why he should have to rule on a social issue that he alleged is “newer than cell phones.”
JUSTICE SCALIA: ….Traditional marriage has been around for thousands of years. Same-sex marriage is very new. I think it was first adopted in The Netherlands in 2000. So there isn’t a lot of data about its effect. And it may turn out to be a — a good thing; it may turn out not to be a good thing, as the supporters of Proposition 8 apparently believe.
But you want us to step in and render a decision based on an assessment of the effects of this institution which is newer than cell phones or the Internet? I mean we — we are not — we do not have the ability to see the future….
AND IN OTHER NEWS – LAPD OFFICER IS GIVEN 1.2 MILLION IN RACIAL HARASSMENT LAWSUIT
On Tuesday, the verdict came in for LAPD officer, Earl Wright, who described harrowing harassment by his supervisor and some other officers at the department’s Central division.
The LA Times Joel Rubin reported on the three day trial..
Here’s a clip:
…The testimony by officers during the trial showed Wright “willingly participated in some of the inappropriate behavior and banter,” said Lt. Andy Neiman, a spokesman for the department.
The jury, however, seemed to reject that notion.
In reaching their decision, jurors noted in written records that the LAPD’s procedures for handling harassment claims such as Wright’s were “ineffective,” Smith said.
Beck said in his written response that the department had learned lessons from the Wright case and “has used its experience from the allegations revealed in this case to more aggressively monitor workplace environments and investigate allegations of misconduct.”
Indeed, cop-on-cop accusations of harassment, retaliation and discrimination have bedeviled the LAPD for years, and cost tax payers tens of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements.
Wright’s verdict is the second seven-figure payout for the city in as many weeks. Last week, the City Council voted to approve a $1.25-million settlement with two lesbian officers who claimed they had been subjected to sexual harassment by their supervisor.
That’s nearly 3 million in harassment settlements in two weeks.
FOXLA News notes that Wright is still working for the LAPD—now at the department’s training division—and still loves his job.