Prop 8 Judge Comes Under the Microscope

He's an independent conservative...who might happen to be gay
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2010 9:26 AM CDT
Prop 8 Judge Comes Under the Microscope
Judge Vaughn Walker is seen in this file photo   (Flickr/Mike Linksvayer)

Judge Vaughn Walker is taking heat for his ruling that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, but the independent-minded Reagan appointee is used to controversy, the New York Times reports. There was the time he publicly supported legalizing drugs, or the time he ruled that police had acted reasonably by pepper-spraying anti-logging protesters. As a lawyer, he was vilified by (irony alert) gay rights groups, for representing the US Olympic Committee in its bid to make the Gay Olympics change their name.

It isn’t until the end of the profile that the Times addresses the elephant in the room: the rumors that Walker is gay. But legal experts say it wouldn’t matter if he were. “You could say, ‘If a gay judge is disqualified, how about a straight judge?’” says one ethics expert. It’s also a moot point, one professor says, because no objection was raised at trial. “You can’t wait to see how a judge will rule and then say he’s the wrong judge.” (More gay marriage stories.)

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