Appeals Court Judge Asked To Disqualify Himself In Prop. 8 Case

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Sponsors of California’s same-sex marriage ban on Wednesday asked one of the judges from the appeals court panel that will hear arguments on the measure’s constitutionality next week to remove himself from the case.

In papers filed with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, lawyers for Proposition 8’s supporters said Judge Stephen Reinhardt’s “impartiality might reasonably be questioned” because his wife heads the Southern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

In that role, the judge’s wife, Ramona Ripston, has been an outspoken opponent of Proposition 8 and taken part in legal proceedings to overturn the voter-approved law, the lawyers said. They cited the friend of the court brief the ACLU filed on behalf of the plaintiff’s in the case pending before her husband as an example.

“So long as a judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned, recusal is required,” they wrote in a motion asking Reinhardt to disqualify himself. “The facts of this case would plainly lead a reasonable person to conclude that Judge Reinhardt’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”

Reinhardt, 79, an appointee of President Jimmy Carter, is one three judges on a panel scheduled to hear arguments Monday in the appeal by Proposition 8’s sponsors of a trial judge’s ruling that struck down the ban. He has a reputation as one of the 9th Circuit’s most liberal jurists.

Along with the constitutionality of the 2008 measure, the appeals court panel plans to consider whether the coalition of religious and conservative groups that sponsored Proposition 8 had authority to bring the appeal once Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown decided not to challenge the lower court decision.

The lawyers for Proposition 8’s sponsors said Reinhardt has recused himself from past cases involving the Southern California ACLU.

(© 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • W. H. Heydt

    One presumes that if any judge that is a member of a church that opposes gay marriage, that judge would also recuse himself….

    • D

      or one’s spouse is a member of a church that opposes…

  • sparky

    If that judge is left in charge of this thing, it’ll show the public how perverse and corrupt this country’s legal system truly is.

    • Richard

      Yeah considering that Supremer Court Justice Thomas often rules on issues his wife is active for.

  • Big G

    What bothers me the most is that those 2 clowns didn’t uphold the will of the people & the constitution. That was there job, right or wrong. I personally don’t care what other do, just don’t like seeing the majority disreagarded. You can cry all you want about it being unfair, but if the majority wins thats the way it is.

    • reminder

      Surely you are aware that our system of government is not simply based on “majority rule”, or did you sleep through that part of your high school civics class?

  • Ray

    Not protecting the God given, inalienable Rights of Americans violates the founding principles of American Freedom and destroys our freedom the same as subjugation by conquest.
    In America, according to the first sentence of the American Declaration of Independence, it’s the God given Right and the Duty of every American to assume, “…the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them…”. Why are we denied these inalienable Rights?
    Denying the fundamental principles of American Freedom, in the name of religious beliefs, is an act of oppression. Our beliefs don’t become knowledge until we prove them to ourselves. Until proven, beliefs are simply rumors and innuendo, speculation on assumptions. Certainly nothing to act on. In America, the beliefs of the ego of man do not deny the Laws of God, which are the inalienable Rights of Humankind.
    America’s Founding Fathers separated church from state because they knew that throughout its history religion has always been associated with suffering, violence, condemnation and oppression. Trying to condemn the Souls of others is a demonic act of the “uncontrolled”, selfish-nature of man, aka, Ego. It’s not an act of God. At no time, in no way, did Master Jesus the Christ ever teach how to condemn others. Religion conjured up those beliefs from somewhere else.

  • Appeals Court Judge Asked To Disqualify Himself In Prop. 8 Case | Refinance System

    […] on the measure’s constitutionality next week to remove himself from the case. Read more on CBS San Francisco Prop. 8 panel a blend of federal judges The three-judge panel that will hear arguments next week […]

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