Things look good that California’s Prop 8 will move forward with the sponsors of the proposition being able to defend it before the Federal 9th Circuit. You’ll remember that the 9th Circuit threw the case back to the California Supreme Court to determine if Prop 8 sponsors had “standing” to defend it.
That hearing took place today with most court observers noting that the California Supreme Court Justices seemed to be quite reluctant to dismiss the vested interest of all of those who sponsored and put in place Prop 8. You’ll remember that California’s attorney general and governor refused to defend Prop 8, forcing the sponsors and supporters to do the job.
Howard Mintz at mercurynews.com gives us some of the Justices’ comments from Tuesday’s hearing:
“So,” Justice Ming Chin asked Olson [attorney opposing Prop 8] at one point, “you want the federal courts to answer this question with only one side represented?”
At another juncture, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye interjected, “What happens to the state’s interest (if state officials refuse to defend an initiative)? Does it evaporate?”
Justice Joyce Kennard, as usual the most active of questioners, was skeptical of Olson’s position as well. “If we agree with your position, it would appear to me that we would nullify the great power the people have reserved for themselves (to enact ballot initiatives),” she said.
Justice Kennard is correct. If Prop 8 is allowed to languish – simply because the governor refuses to defend it, it will call into question the viability of any citizens’ ballot initiative.
The California Supreme Court has 90 days to rule on the “standing” question.
To read Mintz’s article in its entirety, go here.
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