January 16, 2010
Out lesbian law professor selected as federal magistrate judge
Donna M. Ryu, a faculty member at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and, according to the National LGBT Bar Association, an out lesbian, has been appointed as a magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The court's press release is here, and the NLGBTBA announcement is here.
January 15, 2010
Blogger quoted in Article re: Prop 8 Trial
Yours truly was quoted in a recent news Article re: the current federal Prop 8 challenge. It is not the most eloquent statement, but nonetheless, here is the link to the article in the Monterey County Herald.
January 14, 2010
Star attorneys to argue SCt case on Christian group's exclusion of gay students at public law school
Later this spring the Supreme Court will hear Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, which presents the question of whether a public university law school with a non-discrimination policy can refuse to fund a religious student group because the group requires its members to agree with its core religious beliefs, thereby excluding gay and lesbian students.
The case is already making news because of the high-profile lawyers the parties have hired, reports the Blog of the Legal Times: former federal appellate judge Michael McConnell, for the Christian student group; former Solicitor General Gregory Garre, for the University of California Hastings College of Law; and Paul Smith of Jenner & Block (who argued Lawrence v. Texas) for the law school LGBT student group that has intervened in the case.
Text of Supreme Court gag order on Prop 8 trial
The opinion and dissent in the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling banning video broadcast of the Prop 8 trial are available here.
January 13, 2010
SCOTUS nixes video of Prop 8 trial, citing potential witness harassment
The Blog of the Legal Times reports:
By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court has just stayed or halted plans to transmit the video and audio of a high-profile federal trial in California to other courthouses around the country. In an unsigned opinion, the Court said the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California had not followed proper procedures when it changed its local rules to allow the broadcast of the trial on the Proposition 8 ban in California on same-sex marriage.
The decision does not speak broadly about the issue of camera access to federal trials, but does state that "irreparable harm" would result from wide broadcast of the trial, because of possible witness harassment and intimidation. Proponents of Proposition 8, who opposed the telecast, warned of the harms, though the advocates of same-sex marriage, who favored broadcast access, said the claims were without foundation.
Justice Stephen Breyer dissented, joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Sonia Sotomayor. "The public interest weighs in favor of providing access to the courts," wrote Breyer.
The witnesses set to testify in defense of Proposition 8 have asked the Court to keep the media out. They claim they will be “endangered” if their identities are known. Really? These people base their defense of Proposition 8 on their assertion that tradition and morality and public opinion are on their side. If that is so, why not speak out publicly? Why not bask in the approval of the public? The only possible answer is: the public’s opinion has changed.
GA teacher fired for putting "hit" on gay student
The Clayton County, Georgia, school board has fired a high school teacher accused of ordering a "hit" on a gay student, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:
[Teacher Randolphe] Forde was arrested and charged in October with making terroristic threats against an 11th grade student in one of his classes. Authorities allege that Forde asked whether the student was gay, then offered $50 to a classmate to "put a hit" on the student.
Prop 8 trial: Day 2 coverage and analysis
Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, has a very good recap and analysis of Day 2 of Perry v. Schwarzenegger over at the Pam's House Blend blog. Day 2 of the landmark federal civil rights trial in San Francisco focused on testimony by two prominent historians, Nancy Cott and George Chauncey, who have contributed amicus briefs in a number of same-sex marriage cases.
Another story nicely captures Chauncey's testimony and its intended role in the legal case being built by attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies:
After viewing several television commercials produced by Proposition 8's sponsors, Chauncey said images and language suggesting the ballot initiative was needed to ''protect children'' were reminiscent of earlier efforts to ''demonize'' gays, ranging from police raids on gay bars during the 1950s to campaigns to rid public schools of gay teachers in the 1970s.
''You have a pretty strong echo of this idea that simple exposure to gay people and their relationships is somehow going to lead a whole generation of young kids to become gay,'' Chauncey said. ''The underlying message here is something about the undesirability of homosexuals, that we don't want our children to become this way.''
Chauncey's views were introduced to help persuade Chief U.S. Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who is hearing the case without a jury, that the California measure unlawfully discriminates against gays because it was based on an underlying hatred or moral disapproval and serves no legitimate public aim.
January 12, 2010
Olson and Boies take to the airwaves
High-powered lawyers Ted Olson and David Boies aren't just litigating same-sex marriage rights in a California federal court room, they're also complementing their litigation strategy with a media campaign to educate ordinary Americans and influence public opinion. Besides Olson's piece in Newsweek this week, the pair appeared this evening on the Rachel Maddow Show.
Interactive map on state-by-state status of marriage
The Wall Street Journal has a terrific interactive map (apparently available to non-subscribers) detailing the state-by-state status of same-sex marriage, including the dates of passage of relevant statutes or constitutional amendments.
Perry v. Schwarzenegger: first-day news and links
- Coverage of the first-day proceedings from the New York Times,
- Live-blogging of the trial from the anti-Prop 8 perspective.
- Plaintiffs' attorney Ted Olson's opening statement as prepared.
- Coverage from Monday evening's PBS Newshour, including an interview with the author with the New Yorker article on the case.
Legal primer on the Prop 8 trial
Our colleague Ruthann Robson at Conlaw prof blog has this excellent primer on the Prop 8 trial that got underway yesterday in San Francisco.
January 11, 2010
Ted Olson on "the conservative case for gay marriage"
Ted Olson, the high-profile appellate litigator and former Bush administration solicitor general who's spearheading the federal trial on California's Prop 8, writes in Newsweek that his involvement in the case is based on a "lifetime of exposure to persons of different backgrounds, histories, viewpoints, and intrinsic characteristics, and on my rejection of what I see as superficially appealing but ultimately false perceptions about our Constitution and its protection of equality and fundamental rights."
New Yorker preview of Prop 8 showdown in federal court
An extraordinary federal trial begins today in San Francisco: a challenge to California's Proposition 8 (which prohibited same-sex marriage), led by noted attorneys from opposite sides of the political spectrum, David Boies and Ted Olson. The New Yorker has an excellent article previewing the case and addressing the ultimate question of whether it's yet time for a same-sex marriage case to make it to the Supreme Court.
First Event's 30th Anniversary Transgender Conference
First Event's 30th Anniversary Transgender Conference
Time: January 14, 2010 to January 16, 2010
Location: Boston Peabody Marriott
Organized By: Tiffany Club of New England
First Event's 30th anniversary promises to be one of the
best ever. New England's largest transgender conference will feature over 50
workshops, entertainment and special events.
The committee has done an outstanding job of putting
together a full array of daytime and evening programming," said Jamie
Hailey, chairperson of FE 2010.
Among the highlights of this year conference is an
expanded transmasculine track. Initiated and coordinated by Anderson Clark, a
FTM activist seeking to increase resources for the transmasculine community,
the FTM track features a lineup of speakers and workshops that will address
many of the challenges that transmen face.
There is also an incredible array of workshops,
discussing trans rights, spirituality, fashion, health care (and a health
clinic), transition issues and surgery.
Jillian Weiss will present the keynote on Saturday evening: "Are We Family?" Her message will be that we must come together and rise up as a community to demand respect, especially in regard to respect from the law.
Call for Papers
The Feminism and Legal Theory Project is pleased to announce:
CALL FOR PAPERS
Vulnerability, Resilience, and the State
March 12 - 13, 2010
Emory University School of Law
Perry v. Schwartzenneger Prop 8 trial begins today
The new Proposition 8 trial will be held today in US District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiffs charge that Proposition 8 violates the US Constitution under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses. Here is the official website for the lawsuit.