Skip to comments.San Francisco Chronicle: “Open Secret” That Prop. 8 Judge is “Gay”
Posted on 02/10/2010 9:49:27 AM PST by NYer
By Peter J. Smith
SAN FRANCISCO, February 9, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In what he describes as an open secret, a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle says that the federal judge presiding over the case against California's Proposition 8 identifies as a homosexual.
The revelation now raises questions over whether Chief Justice Vaughn Walker of the U.S. District Court for California's Northern District should recuse himself in the federal trial against Prop. 8, Californias ban on homosexual marriage.
Chronicle columnists Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross write: Many gay politicians in San Francisco and lawyers who have had dealings with Walker say the 65-year-old jurist, appointed to the bench by President George H.W. Bush in 1989, has never taken pains to disguise - or advertise - his orientation.
Andy Pugno, general counsel for the Prop. 8 campaign, told the columnists that his group had no intention to say anything about that." But Pugno did add that supporters for Prop. 8 have been put at significant disadvantage throughout the case by Walkers handling of the trial regardless of the reason for it.
Matier and Ross claim they spoke with a federal judge describing himself as Walker's friend and confidant, who said he believed Walker would remain impartial in any event. The judge said he had spoken with Walker, who doesn't think [his sexual orientation] is relevant to his decisions in any case, and he doesn't bring it to bear in any decisions."
However, the source admitted, knowledge of Walker's background as a homosexual is relevant to his involvement in a same-sex marriage case. He said the situation is not dissimilar to people needing to know that a Latino judge was presiding over a discrimination case involving Latinos, or that a Jewish judge was trying a case involving the Anti-Defamation League.
Ed Whelan, President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, writes in the National Review Online blog The Corner" that Walkers alleged homosexuality is not the issue: a homosexual jurist could rule impartially, he says, and a heterosexual judge could entertain biases either for or against Prop. 8 that would demand his recusal.
The real question hangs upon whether the jurist is capable of ruling impartially, and that question, Whelan argues, has already been answered by Walkers behavior both before and throughout the trial.
From the outset, Walkers 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-style show trial of Prop 8s sponsors, writes Whelan.
Whelan points out that Walker violated federal judicial guidelines by initially allowing the broadcast the Prop. 8 trial. Though Walker justified the move under a "pilot program" reportedly designed with the Prop. 8 trial in mind, the US Supreme Court intervened to prohibit the videotaping.
The privacy guideline, instituted to protect witnesses from visual identification and harassment, bears unusual import for the emotionally-charged trial: just before the ruling, one of the pro-family interveners asked to be dismissed from the case, citing the increased threats he and his family would endure in their native San Francisco under video-taped proceedings.
Whelan notes that Walker was again rebuked by a panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for delving into the internal memos of the Prop. 8 campaign, deemed a violation of freedom of association guaranteed by the First Amendment. Walker said he was attempting to determine whether Prop. 8 was passed with animus an impossible feat, Whelan says, given that 7 million voters approved the marriage amendment.
Finally, Whelan accused Walker of exposing his partiality in the case by allowing a parade of anti-Prop 8 witnesses to give lengthy testimony at trial that had no conceivable bearing on any factual or legal issues in dispute but who provided useful theater for the anti-Prop 8 cause.
Walkers entire course of conduct has only one sensible explanation: that Walker is hellbent to use the case to advance the cause of same-sex marriage, Whelan concludes. Given his manifest inability to be impartial, Walker should have recused himself from the beginning, and he remains obligated to do so now.
Read Ed Walkers Commentary at NRO: Judge Walkers Skewed Judgment
Read related coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:
Emotional Prop 8 Trial Draws to an End
Supreme Court Blocks Recording of Prop. 8 Trial
Federal Court Upholds Protection of Yes on Prop. 8 Campaign Docs
Poll: Majority of Americans Wants U.S. Supreme Court to Reject Same-Sex Marriage
Video Shows Gay 'Marriage' Backers Terrorizing Cross-Carrying Elderly Woman and Reporter
Be prepared for a long slog because this is going all the way to the SCOTUS. Doesn’t matter who this judge is. He is having his 15 minutes of fame.
This is bad mojo.
Following along...the anti-Prop 8 folks could call for the recusal of any married heterosexual judge.
Why are homosexuals so damn intolerant?
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
Agree 1000%! What next? Married judges cannot hear divorce cases? Or black judges cannot hear cases with white litigants?
Ain’t diversity grand?
He needs to recuse himself on the basis of a conflict of interest.
Divorce cases these days are about disbursement, not whether a divorce should be granted.
Because they are spiritually and mentally ill.
Another Bush fiasco.
Another Bush fiasco.
I voted for 8, and I definitely felt some "animus". I was undecided but leaning against (defining marriage is not really something the government should get into, I think) up to the weekend before the election. Then I got into a discussion with some the anti-8 activists and they made a point of surrounding me, getting in my face, and shouting about my bigotry. At which point I got the point - antireligious, antiheterosexual bigotry is out of control in California.
These guys are their own worst enemies.
Another Bush fiasco.
not this situation.
We have a judge who is demonstrating bias via a course of conduct which has been repeatedly overruled. We also have a judge whose prior rulings based on his PERSONAL sexual recreation habbits demonstrate an abandonment of impartiality.
Remember the judicial rules say “the APPEARANCE of impropriety is in and of itself impropriety.”
This judge has been TWICE admonished/reversed by higher courts.
He knows he will be appealed. That is cause to do the job correctly, not to exercise bias openly.
This is pure insanity. We, as taxpayers, are paying the salary of an official Judge who finds the waste organ of other males to be erotic. Hello? Can you say totally mentally unfit?
“the anti-Prop 8 folks could call for the recusal of any married heterosexual judge.”
Not at all. Opposite sex marriage is totally legal. Homo marriage is ILLEGAL. The judge practices the homo lifestyle and is therefore inherently biased towards those who commit the illegal act of sodomite ‘marriage’.
Bring back Ito.