Basically, a District Court Judge has just ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in California.
I’m happy with the result. I’m in favor of same-sex marriage.
However, I’m not convinced that the end result was achieved through proper process. Let’s walk through this:
The public voted for Proposition 8, which declared that only marriage between a man and a woman was valid in California.
Judge Walker then found Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional.
Walker later declared that he is homosexual.
Critics declared that Walker may have had a conflict of interest in ruling on a case that could impact himself, and critics then filed a motion:
“The motion argued that if Walker and his partner ever wanted — or thought they might want — to marry, he ‘plainly had an ‘interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding,’ ‘ it said, citing federal law regarding disqualification of judges.”
On June 14 Judge Ware upheld Walker’s ruling:
“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,’ Ware ruled.”
Now, if it’s true that federal law states that a Judge must recuse him or herself if he or she has an “interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding”, then this case should’ve been an easy one to rule on, should it not?
After all, how could Judge Walker not have had an interest in having an extra option, the option to marry his partner?
Walker wouldn’t even need to have been planning to marry his partner at the time of his ruling…it’s in his interest to simply have the option of choosing to marry in the future, regardless of whether such plans were yet in motion!
How could having an extra option not have been in Walker’s interest?
So, a very strong argument supports the motion!
And what of Judge Ware’s comments?
“It is not reasonable to presume that a judge is incapable of making an impartial decision…”
Capable versus incapable? I thought the federal law required one merely determine whether the Judge had an interest in the subject at hand? Why does it matter whether the Judge is capable or incapable of making an impartial decision?
Sure, it’s implied that the problem with having an inherent interest in a subject is that it could lead to an inability to be impartial…but does the law actually reference “impartial capability”, or does it simply reference whether a Judge has an interest in the case?
And what if the law states that impartiality is something to be considered? Using this context, was Judge Ware correct in his ruling?
No! Judge Ware said that it is not reasonable to presume Walker was “incapable” of impartiality.
But for the motion to be successful, why would one need to presume Walker was “incapable”? Wouldn’t one merely need to show that, given the potential interest in the outcome of the case, Walker might’ve been incapable? Or that Walker likely was incapable?
Why did Judge Ware impose the burden of needing to show, with 100% certainty, that Walker “is incapable” (my emphasis)? How could anyone, even a neuroscientist, ever meet that burden?
Using that criteria, it’s impossible for the motion to have won!
It’s sad to see a Judge apparently being unwilling or incapable of acting logically.
I guess things could be worse. Remember, I certainly believe that same-sex marriage should be legal.
So, if a Judge is going to use backward logic, at least the end result is a positive instead of a negative, right?