A bid to have retired federal Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling last year invalidating Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage, was denied by another judge today.
Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware rejected a motion by attorneys for the sponsors of Proposition 8 asking to vacate Walker’s decision because published reports after his retirement this year quoted him as saying he is in a 10-year relationship with another man. The attorneys argued Walker could have benefited from his ruling, and should have disclosed his relationship status, and whether he intended to marry, before last year’s trial.
Attorneys representing gay couples in the case lambasted the motion in court Monday as “frivolous, offensive and deeply unfortunate,” and argued there was no legal basis to support it.
In his denial today, Ware wrote that Walker should neither have recused himself from the case nor have been disqualified from it.
“The sole fact that a federal judge shares the same circumstances or personal characteristics with other members of the general public, and that the judge could be affected by the outcome of a proceeding in the same way that other members of the general public would be affected, is not a basis for either recusal or disqualification” under the law, Ware said.
Ware added that “it is not reasonable to presume that a judge is incapable of making an impartial decision about the constitutionality of a law, solely because, as a citizen, the judge could be affected by the proceedings.”
Proposition 8 sponsors have separately appealed Walker’s decision last Aug. 4 that the law violated the civil rights of gays and lesbians before 9th Circuit.