A reported series of emails reveals Judge Vaughn Walker, who struck down California’s Proposition 8 defining marriage as between one man and one woman, is now working with the attorney who argued the case before him to make sure it stays overturned at the U.S. Supreme Court.
The emails demonstrate a friendly cooperation, the judge not only discussing social engagements with the attorney’s law firm, but also strategizing media coverage over last week’s arguments before the Supreme Court so as to better ensure a same-sex marriage victory.
In one email, Walker asks whether attending the Supreme Court arguments wouldn’t be a “unwanted distraction.”
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Patrick Frey, perhaps better known as conservative blogger Patterico, published the emails between the retired judge – whose admitted homosexuality has already brought his Prop 8 decision under scrutiny – and the law partner of attorney Ted Olson, whose arguments were heard both in Walker’s court in 2010 and now before the Supreme Court last week.
“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,” Frey commented. “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.”
The email exchange, which Frey claims came from a “trusted source” though admits verification with “absolute certainty” impossible, began when Walker on Dec. 7, 2012, responded to a Wall Street Journal news alert announcing the Prop 8 case would be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court.
“I received a barrage of media calls today, and, due to being in mediation, managed to duck all but one,” Walker wrote Ted Olson’s law partner (whose name has been redacted) at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Washington, D.C. “If you get a chance and it’s not out of line, you might ask Ted if he thinks my attending the [Supreme Court] argument would be an unwanted distraction. I won’t be hurt if the answer is ‘yes.’”
The law partner responded that he and Olson had discussed the issue and agreed Walker’s presence at the Supreme Court might indeed create a “media event” that would dredge up Walker’s “personal situation” – i.e., his homosexuality – and might harm the case.
A screenshot of the email can be seen below:
Walker responded to the law partner’s reply with both understanding and disappointment, commenting, “Ted’s argument will be spectacular, I’m sure,” before concluding with an offer to get together for “a cup of Christmas cheer.”
A screenshot of Walker’s email can be seen below:
Frey, himself a supporter of same-sex marriage, nonetheless concluded the email exchange could reflect poorly on Walker’s impartiality in deciding the original Proposition 8 case.
“It is not shocking that a judge would defend a decision he has already made.” Frey wrote. “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.”
As WND reported, Walker struck down Prop 8, the voter-approved ballot measure defining marriage as between one man and one woman, amid a number of questionable tactics.
- “Before the trial even began, the 9th Circuit issued an extraordinary write of mandamus to overturn Chief Judge Walker’s order requiring proponents to turn over confidential internal communications…”
- “Also before the trial … the Supreme Court of the United States issued an emergency stay … enjoining Chief Judge Walker from video recording and disseminating the trial proceedings…”
- “Walker’s decision recognizing a right under the Federal Constitution for same-sex couples to have their relationships recognized as marriages conflicts with the judgement of every State and federal appellate court to consider the validity of the traditional opposite-sex definition of marriage. …”
- Walker peremptorily held that gays and lesbians are a suspect class … even though all 11 Circuit Courts of Appeals … have repeatedly and squarely held to the contrary.”
- “Walker refused to stay his judgment pending appeal. As a result, the 9th Circuit was forced to issue such a stay.”
In his ruling advancing same-sex “marriage” Walker also arrived at the following highly controversial legal findings:
- “Religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians.”
- “Rather, the exclusion exists as an artifact of a time when the genders were seen as having distinct roles in society and in marriage. That time has passed.”
- “The gender of a child’s parent is not a factor in a child’s adjustment.”
- “The evidence shows beyond any doubt that parents’ genders are irrelevant to children’s developmental outcomes.”
- “Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals.”
- “Many of the purported interests identified by proponents are nothing more than a fear or unarticulated dislike of same-sex couples.”