A motion has been filed in California federal District Court seeking to vacate former Chief Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling holding that Prop. 8 violated the United States Constitution. A copy of the motion is here. As a matter of routine, the movants selected a hearing date for the motion in July before Chief Judge James Ware, who replaced Judge Walker on the case.
The motion argues that Judge Walker’s recent announcement that he has been in a committed homosexual relationship for the past 8 years gave Judge Walker an interest in the outcome of the Prop. 8 ruling. The movants argue that such interest combined with evidence of actual bias, including Judge Walker’s highly unusual procedural rulings in the trial whcih led among other things to a rare rebuke by the U.S. Supreme Court, demonstrated a conflict of interest which should have led Judge Walker to recuse himself from the case.
The motion is low percentage, in my estimation. Nonetheless, the motion presents important issues which need to be addressed promptly because the outcome of the motion could affect pending appellate proceedings in the California Supreme Court and 9th Circuit, so Judge Ware moved the hearing up from July to mid-June.
That has led to accusations by a completely misinformed Teddy Partridge at Firedoglake that Judge Ware is homophobic and should be taken off the case, Federal Judge Invites Rank Bigotry Into 9th Circuit [sic] Courtroom:
This is rank bigotry on the part of Judge Ware, and can only be justified by the federal court system’s consideration of gay people as second-class citizens. It is shameless prejudice. No heterosexual judge would be held to any similar standard regarding her own long-term, committed relationship. No plaintiff would dare question the bona fides of a straight judge.
Gays are second-class in federal court and in America; Judge James Ware just proved the entire point of Perry.
And no chief judge would consider such a motion about a heterosexual judge, nor would he grant a hearing and request briefs on the topic. It is absurd on its face and should be rejected by the federal court system. Judge Ware should be sanctioned for allowing such rank bigotry a place in his courtroom.
He should certainly remove himself from any further deliberations regarding the Perry case, as he’s shown himself to hold bigotry in high enough esteem to hear its arguments about a colleague.
It’s shameful and it shouldn’t be tolerated.
The comments to Partridge’s post are even more hyperventilated.
Word to Teddy. Deciding motions is what Judges do. The fact that a Judge allows a hearing on a motion, and expedites consideration, does not reflect agreement with the motion.
If you really want Judge Ware off the case, gets lawyers to make the argument for you. I think I know a law firm which will do it for free, because things have been slow lately in its Gitmo detainee practice group.