CitizenLink: Why Judge Walker Should Have Stepped Down


U.S. District Chief Judge James Ware, who replaced Judge Vaughn Walker (after he ruled against Prop 8), said at today's hearing that he would issue a judgement within 24 hours.

Catherine Snow explains the case for Judge Walker's obligation to recuse:

Media Matters and liberal and gay activists mistakenly claim that wants [Judge Vaughn] Walker’s ruling to be vacated merely because he identified himself as gay. Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center — and perhaps the Prop 8 trial’s keenest outside observer — points out that their distractions and distortions cloud the acute nature of Walker’s lapse in ethics — that he chose to rule on his personal rights. “It’s bad enough that so many of Walker’s defenders don’t confront the actual argument made by Prop 8 proponents. It’s even worse that they resort to invective as a substitute for their lack of argument,” Whelan opined.

“For example, Adam Serwer calls the motion to vacate ‘slimy’ and falsely claims that it rests ‘on the flimsy assumption that gays and lesbians are different from heterosexuals in a manner that justifies denying them their fundamental rights.’ (He also has no support for his claim that the motion is ‘built on an unstated. but core conservative view of the courts — that judicial ‘impartiality’ is best defined as viewing the law through the cultural prism of a heterosexual, conservative white Christian judge.’ But why bother to argue when simply alleging is so much easier?)”

In short, had Walker recused himself — or ruled in favor of Prop 8 — he would have destroyed his prospect of being in a same-sex marriage, if he so desired.

Even legal ethicist Jack Marshall, who supports same-sex marriage, reluctantly admitted: “Astraightforward application of the judicial ethics rules compels the conclusion that Walker should have recused himself from taking part in the [Perry v. Schwarzenegger] case” (emphasis added).