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California judge who struck down Proposition 8 to speak in Bloomington

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A former judge who struck down Proposition 8, the California voter initiative banning same-sex marriage, will deliver a lecture titled "On the Bench and in the Game" at Indiana University Maurer School of Law Nov. 3.

Vaughn R. Walker, former chief judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, ruled on Aug. 4, 2010, in Perry v. Schwarzenegger that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional under both the due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution. Proposition 8 was a voter initiative constitutional amendment that eliminated the right of same-sex couples to marry.

Walker is the first known gay person to serve as a federal judge. As such, his decision generated controversy not only for its substance, but also because supporters of Proposition 8 asserted that Walker should have recused himself from the case.

A federal judge for 21 years, Walker decided many high-profile cases in civil liberties, securities fraud, national security and other arenas. He retired from the bench in February 2011.

Walker's remarks will draw on his diverse experience and focus on the role of judges in dealing with politically controversial issues. His ability to discuss the Proposition 8 decision will be limited because it is currently being appealed.

Walker's lecture will be followed by commentary from Charles G. Geyh, associate dean for research and John F. Kimberling Professor of Law at the Maurer School of Law, and Judy Failer, IU associate professor of political science.

The lecture will be at 3 p.m. in the Moot Court Room, 211 S. Indiana Ave., Bloomington. A reception will follow in Room 310. Both events are free and open to the public.

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  1. Major social engineering imposed by judicial order well in advance of democratic change, has been the story of the whole post ww2 period. Contraception, desegregation, abortion, gay marriage: all rammed down the throats of Americans who didn't vote to change existing laws on any such thing, by the unelected lifetime tenure Supreme court heirarchs. Maybe people came to accept those things once imposed upon them, but, that's accommodation not acceptance; and surely not democracy. So let's quit lying to the kids telling them this is a democracy. Some sort of oligarchy, but no democracy that's for sure, and it never was. A bourgeois republic from day one.

  2. JD Massur, yes, brings to mind a similar stand at a Texas Mission in 1836. Or Vladivostok in 1918. As you seemingly gloat, to the victors go the spoils ... let the looting begin, right?

  3. I always wondered why high fence deer hunting was frowned upon? I guess you need to keep the population steady. If you don't, no one can enjoy hunting! Thanks for the post! Fence

  4. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  5. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

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