The judges have been named for the Perry v. Schwarzenegger (aka Proposition 8 ) hearing on December 6, by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. They are:
The judges were appointed by Carter, Clinton, and George W. Bush, respectively. San Diego Gay & Lesbian News provides brief backgrounds on each.
As KQED's Scott Shafer blogged recently, the panel will first consider whether supporters of Proposition 8, the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, have legal standing in the case. Then the court will hear arguments on whether the ban is unconstitutional, which U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker declared in August.
The hearing is just the latest round in the ongoing, topsy-turvy saga of gay and lesbian marriage in California, in which all legal victories have, thus far, proved temporary.
The latest flurry of watershed events began in May, 2008, when the California Supreme Court ruled that laws limiting marriage to heterosexual couples violated the state's constitution. Thousands of same-sex couples then wed. But the passage of Proposition 8 in November amended the state constitution by limiting marriage to a union of heterosexuals, putting a halt to the marriages.
The state Supreme Court was then asked to rule on the issue again, and this time held that the same-sex marriage ban, voter-approved, could stand. The court also ruled, however, that the marriages performed in the brief period that they were allowed would not be abrogated, creating a sort of grandfathering-in of the 18,000 same-sex marriages that had already taken place.
The issue having been decided against them on a state level, same-sex marriage advocates then took the case federal, arguing that the ban violated the U.S. Constitution. Attorneys Theodore Olson and David Boies, the legal odd couple that opposed each other in Bush v. Gore, argued the case on behalf of two same-sex couples. Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled in their favor, declaring the ban unconstitutional. However, he stayed his ruling until the Court of Appeals Court ruled on the case.
Meanwhile, in the works: a petition drive to put an initiative on the ballot to repeal Proposition 8.