Main | Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Omen, Starring SCOTUS

Last week's SCOTUS decision to bar the televising of Perry vs. Schwarzenegger has many reading the ruling as an omen of how they will rule when the case reaches them.
Legal experts on the left and right gleaned three insights from the high court intervention: First, the justices are following this case closely. They typically rule on appeals after cases are decided. It is rare for them to intervene in a pending trial. Second, the court's conservatives do not trust Walker to set fair rules for proceedings. Their opinion described how he had given shifting explanations of his plans. This suggests Walker's ruling on Proposition 8 may be viewed with some skepticism. And third, the majority has a distinct sympathy for the foes of same-sex marriage. The justices cited a series of newspaper stories reporting on the threats and harassment faced by those who have publicly opposed gay unions.

"The ideological split was stunning," said Erwin Chemerinsky, a liberal law professor and dean of the UC Irvine Law School. "It made me think of Bush vs. Gore" -- when, after the 2000 presidential election, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 emergency order to halt the recount of Florida's paper ballots and three days later ended the recount. Last week's intervention in the San Francisco case "suggests the majority has a very strong sympathy for Prop. 8's supporters," USC law professor David Cruz added.
Whichever side loses, the case will be appealed to SCOTUS. How quickly the case will be heard is unknown.

Labels: , , , ,

comments powered by Disqus