Wednesday, November 16, 2011

So what happens next with Prop 8?

Glad you asked!

And even MORE glad that thanks to our good friends over at the Courage Campaign's "Prop 8 Trial Tracker" here's an answer (summarized from their web page):

Tomorrow the California Supreme Court will rule on the "standing issue" -- whether or not the Prop 8 supporters have legal standing to challenge Judge Walker's ruling Prop 8 unconstitutional. This is not a binding decision on the case. The binding action will come when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals eventually rules.

Earlier this year, when the 9th Circuit heard the appeal of Judge Walker’s striking down Prop 8, they heard arguments on two matters:
1 - constitutionality of Prop 8
2 - whether the proponents of Prop 8 (, et al) even have standing to appeal when CA Governor and Attorney General Harris decline to do so.
Rather than immediately rule on those arguments, the 9th Circuit decided to kick the ball over to the California Supreme Court on the issue of standing, asking an important question:
Do proponents of ballot initiatives in California — in this case, those who collected signatures and raised money and helped pass the initiative — have the authority to represent the state when the state’s public officials decline to defend the initiative?
If ultimately the answer is NO then Prop 8 goes without a defendant and our side (the plaintiffs) win and Prop 8 ends and marriage equality is restored to the State of California.

The California Supreme Court accepted the question from the 9th Circut Court, heard arguments and tomorrow we'll hear its opinion. From there, the 9th Circuit 3-judge panel will read the opinion and then issue its own ruling some time after, which actually functions as a decision in the case. The Prop 8 Trial Tracker folks conclude:
It’s important to note that tomorrow’s opinion, while influential, is more of a “hey 9th Circuit, here’s what we think about your question.” It’s not a binding decision per se. That said, many legal observers believe that the 9th Circuit will follow what the California Supreme Court decides on standing. The issue of whether Prop 8 is constitutional is another question.From there, the ruling can be appealed to the full 9th Circuit en banc, and of course the Supreme Court, both of which may or may not take up the case.
So there you have it. Hope you found it as helpful as I did. For updates tomorrow follow @equalityontrial on twitter.

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