Associate Dean Amar Comments on Prop. 8 for NPR, LA Times, Bee
Associate Dean Vikram Amar commented on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit hearings on Proposition 8 for media including the Los Angeles Times, the Sacramento Bee, and National Public Radio.
Amar said that the Ninth Circuit's ruling on Prop. 8, California's same-sex marriage ban that was passed by voters in 2008 but overturned in federal court in August 2010, may hinge on the question of standing. Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Amar said the three-judge panel may decide that neither of the groups appealing the federal court ruling--ProtectMarriage, which sponsored Prop. 8, and Imperial County--has legal standing.
"I wouldn't be surprised at all if two of these judges decide there is no standing," said Amar. Judge Stephen Reinhardt, considered a strong supporter of gay rights, "may not want the case to go to the Supreme Court right now," Amar said.
If the panel ruled that Imperial County has standing, it would open difficult legal questions, Amar told the Sacramento Bee. "If one county has standing, then all counties would have standing," he said. "And if they all take different legal positions about the meaning of Prop. 8, and whether it should be defended and how it should be defended, how are you to decide which county really speaks for Prop. 8?"
If the Ninth Circuit judges were to uphold the trial court's decision to overturn Prop. 8, there would exist "a situation where there would be a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage west of the Rockies, but nowhere else in the United States," Amar said in an interview on National Public Radio's All Things Considered. "And I think that would probably force the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case to consider the issue."
Vikram Amar, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Law with the UC Davis School of Law, is a national authority in the fields of constitutional law, civil procedure, criminal procedure, and remedies. His biweekly column for FindLaw.com, a leading provider of online legal information, centers on his expertise in constitutional law.
Los Angeles Times article
Sacramento Bee article
All Things Considered