Supreme Court Schedules Proposition 8 Standing Hearing

By Robyn Hagan Cain on August 02, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The California Supreme Court on Friday announced that it will hear oral arguments in Perry v. Brown from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 6, 2011, in the Supreme Court Courtroom, Earl Warren Building at 350 McAllister Street in San Francisco.

The court is hearing arguments to decide whether the official proponents of Proposition 8 have legal standing to defend the measure in the case now pending before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Earlier this year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the plaintiffs' motion in the Proposition 8 lawsuit to vacate the stay of the decision overturning California's constitutional ban on gay marriage, thus keeping the ban in effect until the court issues its decision in the case. In January 2011, the federal court requested the state Supreme Court to review the standing issue. After considering the matter, the Supreme Court agreed to do so. As stated by the Ninth Circuit, the standing issue is as follows:

"Whether under Article II, Section 8 of the California Constitution, or otherwise under California law, the official proponents of an initiative measure possess either a particularized interest in the initiative's validity or the authority to assert the State's interest in the initiative's validity, which would enable them to defend the constitutionality of the initiative upon its adoption or appeal a judgment invalidating the initiative, when the public officials charged with that duty refuse to do so."

In April, attorneys for ProtectMarriage asked the court to void retired-Chief Judge Vaughn Walker's 2010 ruling against Proposition 8. The group, which sponsored the Proposition 8 legislation in 2008, argued that Walker could not have remained impartial because he was in a ten-year, same-sex relationship.

Protect Marriage argued in its motion that Walker had a duty to disclose his relationship and step down before deciding whether a ban on same-sex marriage violated the federal Constitution. In June, new Chief Judge James Ware refused to invalidate the ruling, noting that it was unreasonable to conclude that Walker had such a great interest in marrying that he was incapable of performing his judicial duties, reports The Los Angeles Times.

Due to widespread public interest in the Proposition 8 standing hearing, the Supreme Court has approved a live statewide television broadcast of oral arguments on the California Channel, a statewide public affairs network.

A limited number of seats for public and press will be available in the courtroom. The court also will provide an overflow viewing area for the public and press in the Milton Marks Conference Center Auditorium, located on the lower level of the Hiram Johnson State Office Building at 455 Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco.

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