Of course gay federal district judge Vaughn Walker ruled the will of the people of California irrelevant and the Proposition 8 ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional. Convened in a San Francisco courtroom, with a parade of political activists dressed up as experts testifying against the people's mandate, a blind man and his deaf dog could see the direction this judicial train wreck was heading. Ed Whelan on NRO writes:
Walker's entire course of conduct in the anti-Prop 8 case has reflected a manifest design to turn the lawsuit into a high-profile, culture-transforming, history-making Scopes-type show trial of Prop 8's sponsors. Walker's actions, taken together, have only one sensible explanation: that Walker (had) been hell-bent from the outset to use the case to advance the cause of same-sex marriage.
The fact that higher courts had to intervene at several points to reverse the direction of Judge Walker's aggressive tactics seems indicative of his intentions. A writ of mandamus was issued by a Ninth Circuit panel (comprised entirely of Clinton appointees) to derail intrusive discovery into the Proposition 8 sponsor's internal communications- a violation of their right to associate. In addition, the Supreme Court issued a stay of Walker's intention to have the proceedings broadcast-
in utter disregard of (if not affirmatively welcoming) the harassment and abuse that Prop-8 witnesses would reasonably anticipate."
Follow Ed Whelan's well-supported documentation of Judge Vaughn's obvious agenda driven approach to the trial here http://www.nationalreview.com/bench-memos as well.
Vaughn's unwillingness to recuse himself from a case where he couldn't possibly remain neutral seems inexcusable. As Whelan points out, merely being gay should not have precluded the possibility of the judge remaining neutral. It is reported (in a an article from the Los AngelesTimes cited by Whelan that has since been scrubbed from the site), however, that Vaughn remains in a relationship with a male physician, and may be in a long-term relationship.
If that's so, then the question arises as to whether Walker himself has any interest in entering into a same-sex marriage in California. If he does, then the provisions of federal law requiring that a judge recuse himself when he knows that he has " any other interest [other than financial, that is] that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding."
It seems highly likely that the people will prevail upon appeal. But one couldn't possibly over-estimate the importance of our leaders in Congress performing their due diligence in the appointment process for federal judges given lifetime tenure in positions such as that held by rogue Judge Vaughn. There is still time to derail the appointment of ultra-liberal Elena Kagan and avoid the likelihood of being unable to overturn future travesties like that rendered yesterday in San Francisco.
Ralph Alter blogs at Right on Target www.rightot.blogspot.com