The following comes from a March 22 posting on the blog of Father John Malloy in San Francisco.
On Friday, March 22 the blog Patterico’s Pontifications released emails from December 2012, in which Proposition 8 Judge Vaughn Walker asked a law partner of Ted Olsen, one of the two lead attorneys opposing Proposition 8 before the Supreme Court, to get Olsen’s opinion as to whether or not Walker should attend the Proposition 8 arguments. The arguments will begin to be heard this Tuesday in Washington, DC. The emails themselves can be found at Patterico’s site. Patterico writes:
“Although the emails likely breach no ethical rules — Walker retired in 2011 — they do suggest a cozy relationship between Walker and Olson that some observers may find revealing. Walker seeks Olson’s opinion regarding attending the argument, defers to Olson’s judgment, and praises Olson’s legal skills. Walker’s demeanor in the emails is that of a well-wisher who wishes to make sure Olson’s argument is not disrupted, rather than that of an impartial former jurist. It is difficult to imagine that Walker sent a similar email to the defenders of Proposition 8, seeking their opinion as to whether it would be appropriate for him to attend. Walker and Olson’s partner have not responded to requests for comment.”
Well, one can only “reveal” something if it is hidden. Walker’s bias, bordering on obsession, was apparent from the start. In an August 13, 2010 National Review article, attorney Ed Whelan, President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, called Judge Walker’s behavior in the Proposition 8 case “The most egregious performance ever by a federal district judge.” Mr. Whelan then supplied a long list of Walker’s actions (a list which would grow after Whelan’s article was published) in support of his assertion. Walker’s behavior was so bad that even supporters of same-sex “marriage” in the legal profession had to sit up and rub their eyes to believe what they saw.
Professor of Constitutional Law Dale Carpenter, supporter of same-sex “marriage,” on Walker’s ruling that the defenders of marriage lack standing to bring the case:
“What Judge Walker’s ruling means is you can sponsor a proposition, direct it, research it, work for it, raise $40 million for it, get it on a ballot, successfully campaign for it and then have no ability to defend it independently in court. And then a judge maybe let you be the sole defender in a full-blown trial and then says, ‘by the way, you never can defend this.’ It just seems very unlikely to me the higher courts will buy that.’”
Author Jonathon Rauch, supporter of same-sex “marriage,” on Walker’s “radical” ruling:
“Now, I agree with Walker that gay marriage is unlikely to cause any significant social harm and will do much good. But the judge insists that the testimony of a handful of expert witnesses in his courtroom rules out the possibility of harm so definitively as to make any attempt at caution or gradualism irrational. The evidence, he holds, is ‘beyond debate.’”
Lawyer and ethicist Jack Marshall, supporter of same-sex “marriage,” on Walker’s failure to disclose he was in a long-term same-sex relationship:
“Reluctantly, I have to agree that his disclosure, a year after his ruling, that he was in a committed relationship with a man when he was ruling on Proposition 8 alters that conclusion. Weeks ago, former federal district judge Vaughn Walker, who ruled last summer in Perry v. Schwarzenegger that California’s Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, publicly disclosed for the first time that he has been in a same-sex relationship for the past ten years. A straightforward application of the judicial ethics rules compels the conclusion that Walker should have recused himself from taking part in the Perry case.”
Patterico, also a supporter of same-sex “marriage,” closes by writing:
“This blog post is a piece of journalism, breaking a story that should be of public interest regarding the conduct of a former jurist on a significant case. This site does not advocate an anti-gay rights agenda, and the proprietor of this web site is a supporter of gay marriage (although he disapproves of the imposition of gay marriage on society through judicial fiat)…..But the behavior of Walker, as revealed by these emails, creates the appearance of a partisan rather than an impartial former jurist who simply believes he issued a correct ruling. Walker was so invested in his ruling that he wanted to watch the appellate courts’ argument himself. He went out of his way to make sure that he consulted with the winning side to help them prevail in the appellate courts. Specifically, he sought to learn whether his attendance at the appellate arguments would be acceptable to the prevailing party — and when told it would not be, he deferred to the prevailing party’s media strategy. All of this, cumulatively, suggests an emotional investment in the outcome of the case. The emails are likely to reinforce the widely held perception among Prop. 8 supporters that Walker was less than impartial in his rulings during the trial.”
To read Father Malloy’s original posting, click here.