Prop 8 Ruling Tough for Supreme Court to Overturn

Judge Vaughn Walker's findings are extensive, well-reasoned
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2010 7:17 AM CDT
Prop 8 Ruling Tough for Supreme Court to Overturn
David Herman, right, kisses Jeff Hannan while celebrating a federal judge's decision overturning California's same-sex marriage ban, Aug. 4, 2010, in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Judge Vaughn Walker’s masterfully written ruling striking down Proposition 8 “was written for a court of one,” namely Anthony Kennedy, writes Dahlia Lithwick of Slate. Walker quotes extensively from Kennedy’s own findings (see Quotes, left), and his “findings of fact” section “knits together the trial evidence … to the nerves at the very base of Justice Kennedy’s brain.” These findings are so rigorous that “it’s hard to read Judge Walker’s opinion without sensing that what really won out was science, methodology, and hard work.”

That’s important, because appellate courts often ignore findings of law, but give deference to findings of fact. Walker's findings are so well reasoned that they’ll make it much harder for the Supreme Court to overturn the decision, one law professor tells the New York Times, adding, “This opinion shows why district courts matter.” But another law professor doubts it. “We’ve seen time and time again that the Supreme Court can do whatever it wants,” he said. (More gay marriage stories.)

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