When U.S. District Court Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker in San Francisco lifted the stay on same-sex marriages in California back in August 2010, Erwin Chemerinsky said Prop 8 supporters had no legal standing to win a reversal.
The U.S. Supreme Court this morning proved the UC Irvine School of Law dean nailed it.
Chief Justice John Roberts read the court's 5-4 opinion dismissing the Prop 8 case on the basis that the "petitioners did not have standing to appeal the District Court's order." The original court challenge of California's voter initiative banning same-sex marriage was directed at the governor and attorney general. Then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and then-AG Jerry Brown chose against mounting defenses of Prop 8.
Walker ruled that Prop 8, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman, violated federal constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process. That remains in effect with the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling today.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
As Chemerinsky, a constitutional law expert, said publicly in 2010, all of Walker's rulings in the case were directed at the governor and attorney general, not the supporters of Prop 8 who would take up the appeals that eventually landed at the feet of the Supreme Court justices.
The justices could therefore not rule on the merits of Prop 8, which means the matter could come back before them again.
Meanwhile, the legal question to be answered in California is when marriage equality can resume.