Constitutional Law

Top Calif. Court May Be Poised to OK Standing for Prop 8 Backers to Appeal Walker Ruling


If a ballot measure is approved by voters and then declared by a court to be unconstitutional, what happens if top state officials decline to appeal that ruling?

This is a key question that must be decided in an ongoing appeal of a federal judge’s ruling last year that the so-called Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage in California is unconstitutional.

And it appears that the state supreme court—which has been asked by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to provide an opinion on the issue of whether Proposition 8 backers have standing to appeal the ruling by Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker—is poised to say that they do, reports the L.A. Now blog of the Los Angeles Times.

Otherwise, several members of the state’s top court suggested during oral argument today, the power of the voters to approve a ballot measure would be illusory if state officials could simply opt not to take an appeal of a finding that a law with which they disagree is unconstitutional. And, some justices also suggested, it is the proper function of the courts, not a state’s elected officials, to determine whether or not a law is constitutional.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Fed’l Judge in Calif. Strikes Prop 8 Same-Sex Marriage Ban; Appeal Expected”

ABAJournal.com: “9th Circuit Asks Calif. Supreme Court If Prop 8 Backers Have Standing in Same-Sex Marriage Appeal”

ABAJournal.com: “Supreme Court Could Uphold Gay Marriage in California with ‘Smallest Bite,’ Olson Says”

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