Today I am happy. There seems a chance that democracy and justice might truly prevail against relativism and emotionalism. As soon as Prop 8 opposition “took the stand,” justices lit into them on the issue of revision vs. amendment, firing question after question. Then, Justice Kennard nobly defended the people’s right to amend the Constitution, recognizing her own limitations as a Supreme Court Justice:
"And what I'm picking up from the oral argument in this case is this court should willy-nilly disregard the will of the people," she said.
"I think what you are overlooking is the very broad powers of the people to amend the constitution," Kennard told Marshall as he finished up his arguments.
So while it appears, reasonably, that Proposition 8 will be upheld, what remains in question is the fate of the 18,000 couples who were “married” before California voters confirmed that marriage between one man and one woman was the definition they would firmly defend. Ken Starr, Prop 8 counsel, reminded the California Supreme Court justices that Proposition 8 was well on its way to the ballot before the judges issued their ruling on May 15, 2008. With the knowledge that Prop 8 would be on the ballot in November, the Supreme Court justices were asked to stay the effects of their May 15 ruling until after the will of the people was made known on November 4th. They declined, couples were joined, Prop 8 passed making the sovereign will of the people known (for the second time) on this matter. I pray the justices will accept full responsibility for their actions and accept Starr’s compromise that 18,000 “married” couples can retain the privileges and protections of Domestic Partnerships while surrendering the sacred title of marriage reserved for the union of one and one woman.
From Maggie Gallagher of NOM
We will know for sure in 90 days, but if I were a Prop 8 opponent, I'd be very discouraged right now. The argument that a 14-word definition of marriage is a wholesale revision of the constitution is legally and logically absurd and at least two of the pro-same-sex marriage justices expressed pretty profound skepticism.
Justice Kennard, in particular, seemed to be open to the idea you could not take away sweeping equal protection guarantees from gay and lesbian citizens through the amendment process--but could not wrap her head around the idea that protecting the meaning of the word "marriage" was such a radical sweeping thing to do.
From Beetle Blogger
To start off, the justices hardly let the opposition’s lawyers even get their hellos in before they started ripping them with questions. They seemed completely uninterested in speeches and pontifications, and unimpressed with the emotional aspects of the opposition’s most loved rhetoric. Two hours later, the court still had questions.
By far the worst lawyer and arguments were for Jerry Brown’s case. All I can say is THANK GOODNESS FOR PROTECTMARRIAGE.COM bringing in Ken Starr!! Jerry Brown’s case was TERRIBLE.
He argued that Prop 8 was a legal amendment, but a bad one and the judges shouldn’t allow bad laws to be made. The justices looked blank for a minute and then open season began as they ripped into his “novel theory”. Justice after Justice quoted to him from the constitution which itself says: Power comes from the people. Judges get their power from the people. Not the other way around. Jerry Brown’s counsel, tripped up early and never really got his footing back. It was a complete disaster. Um….uh…I don’t know….yep. Lawyer fail.
I think Starr’s approach was much cleaner. He came across as your favorite grandpa, not trying to sell you on something you don’t need, and not trying to guilt you into reacting, just telling it the way it was.
With less than half the time allotted the opposition, Ken Starr hit home run after home run.
We owned the hearing today, in no small part to an honest case articulated perfectly by Starr who rattled off answers to every question posed. By the time he finished, the justices had no more questions. That’s saying a lot for judges who seemed full of questions.
Hip, hip hooray! I know it’s premature, but I’m celebrating nonetheless. It’s been a hard-earned and long-anticipated optimism I’ve looked forward to.
Happy March 5th, Pearl People.