November 19th, 2008

purple hair

Prop 8 breaking news: certiorari granted, stay of enforcement denied

By way of joedecker: the CA Supreme Court will hear all three petitions filed in response to Prop 8, but will not stay enforcement of the amendment.

So, not the best possible scenario, but not the worst either. The Court's order, given today, is here; no opinion is given as to why the request for stay of enforcement was denied. Conveniently, the Court has provided us with an omnibus of filings related to Prop 8 in their "high profile cases" section. Each of the three cases has a section called "Letters requesting denial of petition and request for stay"; I have not had time to read through them, though I will do so later and summarize the argument as I'm able. (It's been a busy couple of weeks over here.)

Glancing over the letters, I noticed two interesting things. First, though most of those letters are calling for a denial of certiorari and a denial of the stay, the Pacific Justice Center calls for a denial of writ on Tyler v. California and City and County of San Francisco v. Horton -- but only a denial of stay in Strauss v. Horton. (The Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence wrote one letter about all three cases. From a 30-second glance, it appears that the American Center for Law and Justice sent three separate but materially similar letters, one for each case.) The PJC's argument for denying the stay in Strauss v. Horton is a status-quo argument -- "same-sex marriage was only allowed for a couple of months, the status quo for most of the history of California has been no same-sex marriage" -- but I am curious why they did not call for a denial of certiorari as well.

Second, check out who the letter-writers are under Strauss v. Horton. Most of them are law firms or policy institutes. But one of them is under the name of a nonprofit organisation which, apparently, consists of just one woman who styles herself "Heiress Of The Almighty Eternal Creator" [sic] and purports to also be filing on behalf of said Almighty Eternal Creator (!), and one of them is under the name of just one guy. (Yes, their addresses are on the PDFs. I am going to be very, very upset if I hear about people TPing their houses or something, just FYI.)

Welcome to America, folks. Follow the rules of civil and appellate procedure, make sure you provide proof of service to the appropriate parties and meet the filing deadlines, and you, too, can have anything from lucid, reasoned argumentation to ranting whackjobbery and wild claims about your divine nature entered into the court record as an amicus curiae letter. It's your right to do so and it's the court's responsibility to handle it.

Point being, though -- if you want to have your say before the Court, those are some mighty nice templates to follow. You'll probably want to check out the petitions in support of the petitioner, as well, to make sure you're serving the right folks. Their addresses, and the formal language you'll need to establish that you served the petitioners and respondents correctly, are at the back of each letter.

So what are you waiting for? Let's see some amicus curiae letters! I don't care if you're in California or not -- judging by the number at the top of the fax they sent in, the American Center for Law and Justice is in Virginia, and all three lawyers signing their letters state that they're not admitted to the California bar.

Today's order, by the way, also orders the following:
  • Secretary of State Bowen requested to be dismissed as a respondent; the Court granted the request.
  • "Proposition 8 Official Proponents et al" moved to intervene in all three cases; the motion was granted.
  • "Campaign for California Families" moved to intervene in all three cases; the motion was denied.
  • A number of state agencies and offices (including the Attorney General), as respondents, are ordered to show cause why the petitioners' requests should not be granted. (This is standard; these state agencies are the ones being sued. Can they say "Um, actually, we think they should be granted"? That's what I want to know.)
  • Anyone who wants to file an amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief has until January 19th. Again, get cracking!