Andy Pugno is back! And he’s ready to waste our time again about the Prop 8 case. Today, though, he’s actually talking about something that no one else is really reporting on, so I’ll give my best analysis based on what I know. My hunch is that he’s making a big deal out of it just because he can, not because it really deserves being made a big deal of. Let’s wade through the new post.
Last week, we finally received some good news about our efforts to level the playing field in the Perry v Schwarzenegger case. As you may recall, when the live testimony phase of the trial concluded in late January, our opponents “rested their case,” but our outstanding team of attorneys defending Prop 8 did not. The reason? Even at that late hour we were still waiting for Chief Judge Vaughn Walker to rule upon our significant pending motion, by which we asked the Court to direct the leaders of the No on 8 Campaign to release to us the same types of internal campaign memos, strategies, and communications that we at ProtectMarriage.com had long before already been forced to hand over to them to use as evidence during the trial.
I get when they use the mocking quotes to belittle our identities and such, but I still don’t get it when they use them for legitimate legal terms.
The thrust of this post is this idea that No on 8 should have to pour out all of their own documents. I’m not sure of the relevance of this, but I’ll let Andy blab for another paragraph before I explain why.
Under normal circumstances, judges ensure that the discovery and disclosure of potentially relevant evidence occur well before trial, and certainly no later than during the evidentiary portion of the trial. That is exactly what Judge Walker had ordered ProtectMarriage.com and the proponents to do. However, even as the trial was drawing to a close, Judge Walker still had not taken up our “motion to compel discovery” which would have ordered the opponents of Prop 8 to also disclose any of their internal documents of the same kind we had been compelled to disclose. Of course we disagreed from the outset with the idea that any of these internal campaign records should have to be produced— by either side. But once the ground rules had been laid to force us to disclose our confidential records, it was shocking and upsetting to see those rules not applied equally to our opponents.
Here’s the thing: Perry v. Schwarzenegger is about whether Prop 8 is constitutional. It’s not about whether Prop 8 is not constitutional. The Yes on 8/ProtectMarriage.com documents reveal the tactics and language that were used to promote the proposition, so they are directly relevant to the intentions behind the proposition. As we saw during the trial, the Yes on 8 Campaign clearly used intricate alliances among religious organizations to spread demonizing messages about gays and lesbians.
What relevance does the No on 8 Campaign’s materials have on a case on the constitutionality of Prop 8? Arguably, NONE. The No on 8 Campaign had nothing to do with the promotion of Proposition 8, which should be painfully obvious. The relevance is not the same.
So after the live testimony in the case had concluded, Chief Judge Walker referred our request for equal treatment to U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero. Despite being outnumbered in the courtroom by 10-to-1, our attorneys clashed once again in the San Francisco Courtroom, arguing forcefully that the “No” campaign should be held to the same legal standards that the “Yes” campaign has had to endure in this case. Last week, Magistrate Spero ordered the No on 8 groups (Equality California, Californians Against Eliminating Basic Rights, an ACLU campaign committee, and the No on Prop 8 umbrella campaign) to produce to our attorneys copies of all their internal documents “that contain, refer or relate to arguments for or against Proposition 8.”
They have until March 31 to produce these documents to us.
Damn; they never miss an opportunity to portray themselves as underdogs.
I disagree with Magistrate Spero’s decision. Arguments against Proposition 8 do not speak in any way to its constitutionality.
This is clearly about vengeance. Protect Marriage wants an eye for an eye. They had to go to all the trouble to reveal their internal documents, so they want their opponents to have to do the same thing. You know, just because.
So Andy, when you get all the documents on March 31, what are you going to do with them?
While this is good news for us, it clearly requires more work on our end to comb through potentially thousands of pages of memos, notes and emails in order to analyze and extract their impact on the case. Even though the Perry case has been out of the headlines, the work for our legal team has not slowed. This is why we ask for your continued financial support as they work tirelessly on your behalf.
Ah, the true motive revealed. This is just to drain more money from gullible bigots. I can just see the thoughts of the average narrow-minded Yes on 8 Californian: “This gay marriage shit is messing up my life. I’m sick of it. Why’s this all still in question, anyways? Isn’t anyone working out there to make it all go away once and for all? Oh, Protect Marriage needs more money to go through a whole lot of irrelevant documents? Here’s a donation!”
I’m going to offer here and now that the documents will have a negligible “impact” on their case. The only difference they’ll make is allowing Pugno, Prentice, and team to live off the case longer. It’s pathetic, selfish, manipulative, and mean-spirited. Then again, so is everything about Protect Marriage.
Notably, when we sought to protect some of our internal documents as being confidential and privileged, our opponents cried foul. Yet the executive director of California’s most influential homosexual activist organization is trying to make the case that records of communications from and to his group should be out of bounds.
Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors argues that, because EQCA “is a nonparty and because it worked to oppose Proposition 8, its internal campaign communications are not relevant and production would be unduly burdensome.” The ACLU is trying to sing the same song, arguing that the documents we seek are “irrelevant and privileged.” Of course, prior to being mandated to turn over thousands of our own documents, we made almost exactly the same arguments to the court and yet were denied relief!
It’s not fair!! We had to turn over our documents. Make them do it with theirs too!
Magistrate Spero noted in his ruling that “as was the case with the proponents, the documents and communications at issue may shed light on the meaning and impact of the messages that were sent to the voters. Thus, the subpoenaed documents are relevant and must be produced to the extent the documents…contain, refer or relate to arguments for or against Proposition 8.”
As I wrote above, there is little compelling explanation for the relevance of arguments against Proposition 8 as they were submitted to voters. If this were a debate, I could see it. But it’s not a debate. This is a case in the federal court system about the constitutionality of a law. The motives of the people who pushed for it are what matters.
But the legal shenanigans of our moneyed opponents continue: EQCA has appealed Magistrate Spero’s ruling to Chief Judge Walker, who has granted a hearing on Kors’ motion. The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, March 16.
Remember, if you want Protect Marriage to properly “protect your marriage” (whatever the hell that means), they need money! Their opponents have it! And they’re involved in shenanigans! So PM needs more money too! To keep up with the shenanigans!
Did Pugno use “shenanigans” just because it’s St. Patty’s Day this week?
Perhaps we will hear something today about the outcome of the appellate hearing. In the meantime, how about you send us out with an inspirational message, Andy?
We will continue to keep you informed about the progress of this issue and how it may affect the scheduling of a date for closing arguments. In the meantime, please continue to pray for our attorneys and their staff and all who are involved in this epic battle to preserve traditional marriage.
Yes, because they are so insecure they need to feel that they are doing the work of God. They can only do that if you waste your time spiritually stroking their egos!