Not Quite Justice Delayed, But Almost

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Just a quick update today about good ol’ Prop 8.

The Appeals Court ruled essentially two things today.

1) Imperial County does not have standing to appeal. (Good riddance. Their case for appeal was absurd.)

2) The California Supreme Court should address the question of whether the people of the state have standing to defend a ballot initiative when the state government refuses.

This is a bit confusing. There are some legal questions that have not been answered before, and there is also the tricky interaction between the state and federal courts.

Standing in a federal court (like this Appeals Court) is different than standing in a state court. However, the matter at hand is a state ballot initiative. It’s unclear what impact a state determination of standing will have on this federal-level case; it’s only clear that the Appeals Court judges want the answer before proceeding.

Boies argued back in December that the answer doesn’t matter; his arguments against standing at the federal level won’t change. It seems, though, that we’ll simply have to wait to find out.

So, at this point, I think there are three outcomes that could happen.

1) The CA Supreme Court decides not to answer the question of standing and the Appeals Court is left to make a determination of standing without it (and the case may or may not proceed further).

2) The CA Supreme Court decides that Protect Marriage does have standing and then the Appeals Court will have to decide whether to recognize that standing at the federal level (and the case will proceed).

3) The CA Supreme Court decides that Protect Marriage does not have standing, a decision the Appeals Court will likely recognize. The appeal will be unable to proceed and Judge Walker’s ruling will stand.

It’s frustrating that this process is being stretched out, but with the murkiness of the legal territory, I suppose it’s for the best if the Appeals Court has the most information to work with.

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