Chief District Judge Nixes Motion to Vacate Prop 8 Ruling Due to Judge Walker's Sexual Orientation
The chief federal district judge in San Francisco has refused to vacate a controversial same-sex marriage ruling last year by a now-retired colleague, based on his sexual orientation and involvement in a same-sex relationship.
A judge is not required to step down from hearing a case simply because of his or her personal situation, ruled Judge James Ware today, reports the Christian Science Monitor.
“The fact that a federal judge shares a fundamental characteristic with a litigant, or shares membership in a large association such as a religion, has been categorically rejected by federal courts as a sole basis for requiring a judge to recuse her or himself,” said Ware in his written opinion.
Ware heard the motion to vacate because he is handling cases for now-retired former Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker. However, Ware’s ruling upholding Walker’s decision striking down the Proposition 8 ballot measure banning same-sex marriage is not expected to be the final answer in the case, because Walker’s decision has already been appealed to a higher court.