Monday, September 14, 2009

Judge Allows Prop 8 Proponents in Federal Case to File Motion for Summary Judgment in Attempt to Avoid Trial

Find Law News reports that Charles Cooper, lawyer for the proponents of Prop 8 in the federal case working to overturn the measure, has filed a motion for summary judgment in an effort to avoid going to trial.
This raised the ire of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner Theodore Olson [representing plaintiffs hoping to end Prop 8].

Northern District rules only allow for such requests before the filing deadline, not on the day of, Olson wrote in papers filed Thursday.

“Principal briefs filed before the United States Supreme Court on significant constitutional questions are limited to well under half the length requested here,” he wrote, adding that it isn’t fair for the plaintiffs to have to oppose such a lengthy motion in 14 days.

Cooper argues in papers that the fat briefs are warranted, “in light of the profound importance of the institution of marriage and the complexity of the issues involved.”

Should Chief Judge Vaughn Walker decide to accept the motion as is, he will read Cooper’s request to resolve the case before trial. Since the U.S. Supreme Court already forbid same-sex marriages decades ago, the defense contends that Walker must hew to that precedent and reject the plaintiffs’ constitutional claims.


As for the merits of the summary judgment motion, “I don’t think there’s anything in here that we haven’t heard before, or that will stand up,” Gibson, Dunn partner Christopher Dusseault said.
Michael Ginsborg writes on his very helpful blog Proposition 8 and the Right to Marry that Judge Walker allowed the Prop 8 proponents to file the brief; however he does address Ted Olson's objections that the motion was filed late and was 98 pages, well beyond the usual 25 page limit. In response, Walker will allow Olson and legal team to write an equally long rebuttal.

Attorney Rick Xiao wrote on Ginbsorg's blog, "Given that the previous case management orders went mostly in plaintiffs’ favor, allowing parties to file equally long briefs indicates Judge Walker is open-minded and unbiased about the merits of the case. Judge Walker is known as a maverick and he has surely lived up to his reputation with this ruling."

Xiao kindly sent Unite the Fight a copy of the judge's ruling, embedded below Cooper's summary judgment.


Ruling on Page Limit for Prop 8 Summary Judgment

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