Skip to comments.Lose at the Ballot, Push! for Payback at the Bench
Posted on 10/11/2009 5:23:04 AM PDT by Kaslin
Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker opened the gates to hell this month when he ruled that strategists for Proposition 8 -- the 2008 ballot measure, passed by 52 percent of California voters, that limited marriage to a man and a woman -- must release internal campaign documents to measure opponents.
Political activists of all stripes beware: Unless this ruling is overturned, the word will be out that sore losers who can't beat you at the ballot box and probably can't beat you in court can file a lawsuit designed to pry away proprietary information that they later can use to embarrass you.
And be clear: Every campaign has its dirty laundry. Including, I would imagine, the Proposition 8 opposition. What was Walker thinking? As The Chronicle's Bob Egelko has reported, the plaintiffs -- two same-sex couples, a gay rights organization and the city of San Francisco -- cite a previous federal ruling to argue that if the court finds that Proposition 8 backers were motivated by discrimination, then the court can strike down the measure without having to decide if gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry.
Confused? You are not alone. After all, there is little mystery about why voters approved Proposition 8. More people opposed same-sex marriage than supported it.
If there were any mystery about the sponsors' intent, the California voter pamphlet and campaign literature could fill in the blanks.
But opponents of the measure are not satisfied with the public record. They want to see strategy documents for themes not presented to the electorate. Matthew McGill, who represents the two same-sex couples, told me, "The Prop. 8 proponents have said that Prop. 8 is motivated by entirely benign concerns such as 'responsible procreation.' We're entitled to test that assertion."
Walker agreed. Thus he ordered Proposition 8 authors to hand over "enough information about the strategy and communications of the Prop. 8 campaign to afford a record upon which to discern the intent underlying Prop. 8's enactment."
Opponents are trolling for information that "would constitute a binding admission or a statement directly at odds with representations" made by Proposition 8 proponents in court. The problem is, campaigns are messy things, famous for infighting and factions.
Suppose that a campaign staffer suggested a television spot that focused on a specific religious objection to same-sex marriage, and campaign biggies rejected that advice. Would that mean the campaign sponsors agreed with the suggestion, or did not?
The answer may well be: whichever conclusion is more damning. And if the judge doesn't find the sponsor's motives to be sufficiently benign, the voters may well be damned. As for Walker's contention that campaign consultants Frank Schubert and Jeff Flint forfeited any claims to proprietary information because they wrote a magazine article that discussed strategy, well, the judge knows better. If you flash your ankle, you don't have an obligation to bare your thigh.
Bob Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies, could not think of a similar court ruling requiring a campaign to hand its strategy papers over to the opposition. Nonetheless, he mused, "There is no campaign consultant-client privilege."
"It could have far-reaching ramifications," Stern added. "It could clean up campaigns a little bit. It could drive things underground."
It almost certainly will lead to more lawsuits filed by ballot-box losers. As Proposition 8 attorney Chuck Cooper told me, "I cannot imagine that what is sauce for the goose will not also be sauce for the gander."
Call it the tort-ification of elections, as those who lose at the ballot box go for another bite at the apple through the bench. Today, it's the Proposition 8 opponents. Tomorrow, it could be environmentalists or civil libertarians.
In May, the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8 in a 6-1 decision. Chief Justice Ronald George wrote that the issue before his court was the "right of the people" to change the state Constitution regardless of whether "the provision at issue is wise or sound as a matter of policy or whether we, as individuals, believe it should be a part of the California Constitution."
Walker chose a different path. He will determine if the "intent" of the backers was sufficiently pure. Whatever he decides on that issue, Walker's ruling would give the campaign's losers an inside track on how the other guys won.
That's some consolation prize.
Investment banks do that the day after a deal closes: shreds all documents it is not legally obligated to keep.
It sounds like this vote can be overturned...by JUDGES,again....if a single mention of the word "immoral" is contained in any documents that the pervs get their hands on.It discriminatory,after all.*And* it's the establishment of a state religion.
Walker, Vaughn R.
Born 1944 in Watseka, IL
Federal Judicial Service:
Judge, U. S. District Court, Northern District of California
Nominated by George H.W. Bush on September 7, 1989, to a seat vacated by Spencer M. Williams; Confirmed by the Senate on November 21, 1989, and received commission on November 27, 1989. Served as chief judge, 2004-present.
University of Michigan, A.B., 1966
Stanford Law School, J.D., 1970
Law clerk, Hon. Robert J. Kelleher, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, 1971-1972
Private practice, San Francisco, California, 1972-1990
Race or Ethnicity: White
Well then, prop 8 proponents can counter sue the opposition for the same info...which will lead right to Acorn and Soros and all sorts of things the backers of these gay rights folks don’t want brought out into the light!
Maybe so.But in terms of a judge *overturning* the proposition (which seems very possible here) the pervs cannot be accused of discrimination,"hatefulness" or any other "sinister" thing.That's the key legal question here according to this scumbag judge.And given that the perv lobby is literally incapable of feeling shame or embarrassment they have *everything* to gain here and *nothing* to lose.
The word is not exclusively *used* by religions or religious people but in this country,at least,what society in general considers is wrong is legislated against and thus becomes *illegal*.Matters of morality are "adjudicated" by religious officials.And members of society can either accept,reject or ignore those determinations.
Hm?....If the losers have the right to examine the strategy of the winners, don’t the winners have the right to see what happened within the losing side?
My bet is that the No Prop 8 people have a lot more vicious hatred to hide than the winning side.
But they could be accused of anti religious discrimination and plotting to disrupt the nation by disrupting its families...should such smoking guns be found in their campaign documentation. Plus, the real backers of these Gay groups might not want their campaign contributions “outed” in plain site, including contributions from “sympathetic” judges! Has this judge in question been found to contribute to any of these liberal causes...? He might then have been asked to recuse himself from these types of cases!
You are right. If Christians were smart they would go after gay activists for violating their civil rights. That goes for all the groups harassed and smeared by Left wingers from ADL to the ACLU.
Yes,they could be accused of that in a public debate.But this is a *legal* issue currently before a Federal court and given the bias of the legal profession today....the bias of our courts...can you name me a single Federal court that would apply any sanctions against such discrimination or such plotting?? If this ever reaches the SCOTUS,the *best* we can hope for is a 5-4 vote against the perv lobby.And we may very well not even do *that* well..particularly depending on when it reaches the court and how many appointees Hussein has been able to seat before it gets there.
Yes but the political situtation is very dicey in this country right now and despite the “legal” issues the court would “deal” with, this issue would cause unwanted flux in political races for the democrats. They already fear revolt on tax issues...family and moral issues could lead to wholesale succession and armed insurrection.