Judge Conflicted But Refuses to Step Down on Prop 8 Case – Call Now

*****BREAKING NEWS*****

From the National Organization for Marriage:

Judge Stephen Reinhardt has just refused to step down from a three-judge panel that will consider the arguments for and against Prop 8 on Monday — in spite of the fact that his wife has provided legal counsel to one of the parties in the case! And in an unparalleled act of judicial arrogance — he has refused in his initial order even to explain why!

My friend, in a few days a three-judge panel in San Francisco’s 9th Circuit is going to consider Judge Walker’s heinous attempt to overrule 7 million Californians and impose his values on the American people. (Visit www.prop8case.com for live coverage of Monday’s oral arguments beginning shortly before 10am PT / 1pm ET.)

Unless you act today, one of these three judges will be Judge Stephen Reinhardt-and this very liberal judge has a serious conflict of interest that means he should disqualify himself from hearing this case.

I have an urgent, urgent request for you.

Will you call the 9th Circuit today, right now: and tell them: Judge Reinhardt should disqualify himself!

What’s the problem? Judge Reinhardt’s wife, the head of Southern California’s ACLU, actually consulted as an attorney with the plaintiffs challenging Prop 8! Judge Reinhardt’s wife gave legal advice to one of the sides in this case-how can he appear as an impartial abiter of justice!

The Judicial Code of Conduct forbids even the appearance of impropriety. And it would be improper for Judge Reinhardt to make himself arbiter of the fate of 7 million Californians when his own wife is an active part of one side’s case!

This is urgent. Drop everything and call right now. (415) 355-8000.

Then pass this message on to your friends and urge them to call (415) 355-8000.

Remember, be rational, be polite, be your best self-this is the judiciary of the U.S. and they deserve our respect-but call today and tell them: “Judge Reinhardt must disqualify himself, because his wife has given legal advice to one of the parties in this case-and that’s not fair!” Call (415) 355-8000.

For more background, I’ve included NOM’s press release below. But please, as you value your liberty, as you value a fair and impartial judiciary, as you value you and your children’s right to vote for marriage-call right now today! (415) 355-8000.

God bless you!
Brian Brown

Faithfully,

Brian S. Brown
President
National Organization for Marriage
2029 K Street, NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20006
bbrown@nationformarriage.org

P.S. Call right now-and then pass this on to 3 friends and ask them to call!

*****BREAKING NEWS*****

Judge Stephen Reinhardt has just refused to step down from a three-judge panel that will consider the arguments for and against Prop 8 on Monday — in spite of the fact that his wife has provided legal counsel to one of the parties in the case! And in an unparalleled act of judicial arrogance — he has refused in his initial order even to explain why!

NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MARRIAGE CALLS FOR JUDGE REINHARDT TO DISQUALIFY HIMSELF FROM PROP 8 HEARING
Wife’s Involvement In Case Violates Judicial Code of Conduct Forbidding Bias and Appearance of Bias

Washington, DC – The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is calling on Justice Stephen Reinhardt, one of the judges in the Prop 8 appeal scheduled for hearing next week in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, to recuse himself because his wife, Ramona Ripston, has been intimately involved in the case including advising the plaintiff’s counsel before the case was even filed. NOM is asking their 300,000 supporters to file official complaints with the Ninth Circuit court. The oral arguments for the Prop 8 case before the Ninth Circuit will take place on Monday, December 6.

“Judge Reinhardt’s wife, Ramona Ripston, has been involved in this case on numerous accounts, and what we’ve learned from Ed Whelan’s highly informative Bench Memo yesterday, posted on National Review Online (and updated here) is that there is no way Judge Reinhardt can rightfully remain a member of this hearing without making a mockery of the federal judiciary,” said Brian Brown, president of NOM. “We are demanding that Judge Reinhardt step down immediately and call Californians to write an official complaint to the Ninth Circuit demanding that Judge Reinhardt be disqualified.”

Federal law and the Code of Conduct for United States Judges provide a non-exhaustive list of circumstances in which a judge must disqualify himself on the ground that his “impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” Those circumstances “includ[e] but [are] not limited to instances in which the judge’s spouse is (i) a party to the proceeding, or an officer, director, or trustee of a party; or (ii) acting as a lawyer in the proceeding.” Ripston is the Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California. The Whelan Bench Memo makes it clear that Judge Reinhardt must disqualify himself because of the intimate involvement of his wife on behalf of participants in this case. This involvement includes:

According to an article in California Lawyer cited by Whelan, Ripston consulted with the plaintiffs’ lawyers about the decision to bring this very case.The entity that Ripston heads took part as counsel to an amicus in this very case in the district court. According to media reports including those in the Los Angeles Times and respected legal blog www.Volokh.com, Reinhardt has a policy of recusing himself from cases involving the ACLU of Southern California.

In addition to the clear legal reasons that Judge Reinhardt is required to disqualify himself from this case, there are other circumstances that clearly call his impartiality into question:

* Ripston, Reinhardt’s wife, contributed money to the NO on Proposition 8 campaign. It is not known if these funds were joint or separate funds.
* Ripston publicly cheered the decision by the District Court to declare Proposition 8 unconstitutional. In a media statement, she said, “We rejoice at today’s decision but there’s a long road ahead toward establishing true marriage equality for same-sex couples.”

“The long road to determine the constitutionality of Proposition 8 cannot be allowed to go through the courtroom of the husband of one of the key participants in the case,” Brown said. “If our federal courts are to have any credibility, Judge Reinhardt cannot be allowed to sit as a judge in a case in which his wife is involved. Judge Reinhardt is already one of the most overturned judges in American history. If he does not remove himself from this case, he risks the validity of the entire proceedings.”