Here's a peek inside U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling that declared unconstitutional California's Prop 8 (Marriage Amendment) by former U.S. Attorney General Ed Meese (now at The Heritage Foundation). Unfortunately, as incredible (in the literal sense of the word) as Judge Walker's decision was, it was predictable given that it was agenda driven and not based on the law, precedent, legal standards of evidence or any hint of sound reasoning. So egregious, in fact, that the most liberal appeals court in the land, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, earlier this week issued a stay of his ruling to at least January. On Tuesday, Mr. Meese wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post that concisely dissects the many incorrect paths Judge Walker took to his conclusion (read here). More precisely, he shreds them. Here is an example:
Regardless of whether one agrees with the result, structurally sound opinions always confront binding legal precedent. Walker's is a clear exception because the U.S. Supreme Court has spoken on whether a state's refusal to authorize same-sex marriage violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the 14th Amendment. In 1972, Baker v. Nelson, a case over whether Minnesota violated the Constitution by issuing marriage licenses only to opposite-sex couples, was unanimously thrown out on the merits, for lack of a substantial federal question.
That is, to say, the feds have no say in states role in regulating marriage. In addition, the judge ignored factual evidence submitted by Prop 8 attorneys, while — again, incredibly — making up his own evidence. Writes Mr. Meese:
Despite voluminous evidence and common sense pointing to the contrary, the judge also declared that opposite sexes were never part of the "historical core of the institution of marriage"; "evidence shows conclusively that moral and religious views form the only basis for a belief that same-sex couples are different than opposite-sex couples"; traditional marriage is an "artifact"; and, also without reference to the monumental evidence to the contrary, that it is beyond "any doubt that parents' genders are irrelevant to children's developmental outcomes."
These assertions appear in the opinion's "findings of fact" section, yet they are not facts. These "findings" derive from arbitrary and capricious non-analysis and are forcefully contradicted by evidence in the court record. No appellate court should allow the ruling to stand.
Judge Walker than implies that opponents of same-sex marriage are bigots — a big, bold, italics, underlined highlight to what is an agenda-policy statement, rather than a legal ruling. As Mr. Meese points out, that means:
President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the majority of members of Congress and the 7 million Californians who voted for Proposition 8 are all bigots who have "no rational reason" to oppose gay marriage.
Mr. Meese's op-ed is a good read on the law that lay people can understand and which we commend to you. It also sounds like a firm outline on which the decision's appeal should be made.