It turns out that Vaughn Walker, the judge at the Prop 8 trial, is gay. Not that that means that his position is going to be any more biased than all judicial decisions are, but that did just add another reason for the right to complain that the decision isn't valid should they lose at trial. Here's what they had to say about that:
Not so, said Andy Pugno, general counsel for the group that sponsored the Prop. 8 campaign.
"We are not going to say anything about that," Pugno said.
He was quick to assert, however, that Prop. 8 backers haven't gotten a fair shake from Walker in court. He cited both the judge's order for the campaign to turn over thousands of pages of internal memos to the other side and Walker's decision to allow the trial to be broadcast - both of which were overturned by higher courts.
"In many ways, the sponsors of Prop. 8 have been put at significant disadvantage throughout the case," Pugno said. "Regardless of the reason for it."
Of course an attorney waiting for a judge to decide a case is going to say that. But now it'll become part of fundie lore....
As we heard back in the Sotomayor hearings, the right only thinks that white, straight males can be objective judges, everyone else is biased in favor of whatever background they come from.
In fact, their entire argument that "activist judges" are going beyond their duty and "legislating from the bench" is based on the idea that any decision the right doesn't like is biased, since nice, normal, Real Americans would always agree with them, and Real Americans write the laws, so it must be those not-Real Americans on the bench. Consider NRO's response to the news Walker is gay, right after insisting that his sexuality is unimportant:
Walker's entire course of conduct has only one sensible explanation: that Walker is hellbent to use the case to advance the cause of same-sex marriage. Given his manifest inability to be impartial, Walker should have recused himself from the beginning, and he remains obligated to do so now.
Unless he decides in their favor, of course. Then all this recusal talk was just in good sport.
The SF Chronicle has more on Walker's background, which I was surprised to find out:
Vaughn Walker almost lost his chance to reach the federal bench because of claims that he was anti-gay and hostile to civil rights. Two dozen House Democrats, led by Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, opposed his nomination because of his alleged "insensitivity" to gays and the poor. His first appointment, from President Ronald Reagan in 1987, stalled out in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
His nomination was renewed by President George H.W. Bush in early 1989.
Back then, Walker struggled to assure skeptical liberals that, as a judge, he could rule with impartiality even though he had represented the U.S. Olympic Committee in its successful effort to prevent an athletic competition in San Francisco from being called the Gay Olympic Games. He was harshly criticized for putting a lien on the home of a gay-games leader who was dying of AIDS. Walker insisted that he was not anti-gay and was only doing his best to serve his client.
Walker also was under fire for his membership in San Francisco's all-male Olympic Club. He resigned during the nomination process, which helped cement his confirmation.
"San Francisco's all-male Olympic Club"? Sounds pretty gay to me, but Wikipedia says that it's just a country club. With 45 holes.
Even though I doubt he could be any more biased than someone like Scalia, the fact that the right had to argue that gays are awful people straight to a gay person makes me smile on the inside.