NOM Demands Recusal Of Prop 8 Judge
NOM is demanding that Ninth Circuit Court Judge Stephen Reinhardt recuse himself from the three-judge panel set to hear the appeal of Prop 8's overturn on Monday. NOM's objection arises from a National Review article posted yesterday which points out that Reinhardt's wife is the executive director of the Southern California chapter of the ACLU, that she made personal contributions to the No On 8 campaign, and that she issued a statement cheering Prop 8's overturn.
Federal law and the Code of Conduct for United States Judges provide a non-exhaustive list of circumstances in which a judge must disqualify himself on the ground that his “impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” Those circumstances “includ[e] but [are] not limited to instances in which … the judge’s spouse … is (i) a party to the proceeding, or an officer, director, or trustee of a party; or (ii) acting as a lawyer in the proceeding.” Ripston is the Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California. The Whelan Bench Memo makes it clear that Judge Reinhardt must disqualify himself because of the intimate involvement of his wife on behalf of participants in this case.Complicating the issue is the pro-repeal amicus brief filed by the Northern California chapter of the ACLU, a group not under the supervision of Reinhardt's wife, but related as part of the national organization.