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|National anti-gay marriage group claims bias in Prop 8 hearing|
|by Ryan Watkins|
|December 07, 2010 12:02|
The National Organization for Marriage released a statement regarding the federal appeals court hearing on California’s Proposition 8 yesterday, decrying the court panel as biased.
The anti-gay group is up-in-arms over the inclusion of Judge Stephen Reinhardt, whose wife works with the American Civil Liberties Union and has been involved in the case through her role at the ACLU. Reinhardt was one of three judges who sat on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals during yesterday's hearing.
"This hearing makes a mockery of the federal judiciary," said Brian Brown, president of NOM, in an internet posting. "Citizens are entitled to a guarantee of impartiality from their judiciary. Yet here we have the spectacle of a federal appeals court justice ruling on a case in which his wife represents a group that is a participant. A cynic would be left to wonder if the fix is in for marriage in the Ninth Circuit."
In the days leading up to the hearing, NOM had called for Reinhardt to withdraw himself from the inquiry over his wife’s position with the ACLU.
According to NOM, Reinhardt's wife, Ramona Ripston, advised the plaintiffs’ attorneys before the case and previously made donations to the NOH8 campaign.
The Los Angeles Times reported Reinhardt declined to recuse himself because he said he could rule “impartially.” Reinhardt is widely viewed as one of the more “liberal” members of the 9th Circuit of Appeals.
Nevertheless, NOM’s statement, issued yesterday after the hearing, acknowledged the 9th Circuit would likely vote against Prop 8’s constitutionality.
"The long road to determine the constitutionality of Proposition 8 cannot be allowed to go through the courtroom of a judge whose wife is a key participant in that case," said Brown. "It's obvious that Reinhardt will vote to overturn Prop 8. We can only hope that once this case reaches the U.S. Supreme Court, that the people of California will finally get an impartial day in court. When they do, we are confident that marriage as the union of one man and one woman will be vindicated."
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