Ninth Circuit upholds ruling to block advocacy intervention in Proposition 8 suit

[JURIST] A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Thursday affirmed [opinion, PDF] a lower court's denial [JURIST report] of a conservative advocacy group's motion to intervene in a challenge to Proposition 8 [text, PDF], California's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive]. The appeals court held that the district court did not abuse abuse its discretion by denying the motions to intervene. The Campaign for California Families (the Campaign) [advocacy website] had sought to intervene, alleging that the defending parties to the suit, Official Proponents of Proposition 8 and ProtectMarriage.com, would not adequately represent the interests of the Campaign. Judge Margaret McKeown rejected that argument:


The reality is that the Campaign and those advocating the constitutionality of Prop. 8 have identical interests—that is, to uphold Prop. 8. Any differences are rooted in style and degree, not the ultimate bottom line. Divergence of tactics and litigation strategy is not tantamount to divergence over the ultimate objective of the suit.

The Campaign alleges [AmLawDaily report] that the current defendants in the suit challenging Proposition 8 have compromised upholding the measure by conceding to facts that declare homosexuality is an immutable characteristics. The current defending parties deny those claims.

In August, a judge in the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website] ruled that several advocacy organizations representing both sides of the issue could not intervene in the lawsuit [complaint, PDF] challenging Proposition 8. The lawsuit was filed [JURIST report] in May by former US solicitor general Ted Olson and prominent litigator David Boies [professional profiles], who were opposing counsel in Bush v. Gore [opinion], which decided the outcome of the contested 2000 US Presidential election [JURIST backgrounder]. The challenge was announced shortly after the California Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] that state law challenges to the ban lacked merit. Proposition 8, approved by voters [JURIST report] in November, was a response to the California Supreme Court's decision last year striking down [JURIST report] a statutory ban on same-sex marriage as violating the equal protection and privacy provisions of the state constitution.


 

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