The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced today the panel assigned to the marriage protection appeal of Judge Vaughn Walker’s anti-Prop 8 ruling – and it doesn’t look good.
Judges Stephen Reinhardt, Michael D. Hawkins and N. Randy Smith will be the three-judge panel to hear the appeal.
Reinhardt is the liberal leader on a liberal court. He holds the dubious honor of being the most reversed judge in history. Hawkins is liberal-leaning. Smith, a George W. Bush appointee, is regarded as a conservative. Add it up, and it suggests a split decision – against marriage.
Two of the three – Reinhardt and Hawkins – are well-known hard core liberals, with Reinhardt holding the dubious honor of being the most reversed judge in history.
Ron Prentice, executive director of California Family Council, said they hoped for a more objective lineup, but is not surprised.
“From the beginning of Prop 8′s defense in the state and federal courts, our legal team has consistently shown that man-woman marriage has been protected in law for reasons related to child development and societal well being,” Prentice said. “Our expectation is, as we’ve suggested all along, that ultimately this case will be decided by the highest court in the land.”
Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, said the lineup – purported to be a random selection – was no accident.
“And, I don’t think (it was a mistake) that Judge Reinhardt was placed on the case challenging the national Pledge of Allegiance, or our national motto,” he said. “There is potential real damage that could happen by this liberal judge majority, in that they could lift the stay and go ahead and allow homosexual marriages to go full force in California.”
Ed Whelan, constitutional attorney and president of Ethics and Public Policy Center, said the end-game has always been to have the U.S. Supreme Court rule on same-sex marriage.
“The hope that one can have (should this happen),” Whelan said, “(is to) get at least five (Supreme Court) justices to reject the invention of a right to same-sex marriage.”