Karen Ocamb

Reinhardt Refuses to Recuse Himself in Prop 8 Case

Filed By Karen Ocamb | December 03, 2010 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics

There was lot of commotion Wednesday afternoon as Yes on 8/ProtectMarriage.com filed a motion asking 9th Circuit Court Judge Stephen Roy Reinhardt to recuse himself from the three-judge panel Ninth-Circuit-Court-seal.jpgthat will hear the Prop 8 appeal and standing case on Monday. As I reported earlier, Reinhardt's wife is Ramona Ripston, longtime Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California, who is retiring this year. The ACLU has actively opposed Prop 8 since it was first proposed. Prop 8's attorneys say Reinhardt's "impartiality might reasonably be questioned" because of his marriage.

"So long as a judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned, recusal is required," they wrote in a motion asking Reinhardt to disqualify himself, AP's Lisa Leff reported. "The facts of this case would plainly lead a reasonable person to conclude that Judge Reinhardt's impartiality might reasonably be questioned."

Thursday morning, Reinhardt said no:

"Filed order (STEPHEN R. REINHARDT) I have before me defendants-intervenors-appellants' motion to disqualify myself from this appeal. I have not hesitated to recuse from cases in the past when doing so was warranted by the circumstances. See Khatib v. County of Orange, 622 F.3d 1074, 1074 (9th Cir. 2010); Mohamed v. Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc., 586 F.3d 1108, 1109 (9th Cir. 2009); Buono v. Kempthorne, 527 F.3d 758, 760 (9th Cir. 2008); Sw. Voter Registration Educ. Project v. Shelley, 344 F.3d 913, 914 (9th Cir. 2003); Valeria v. Davis, 320 F.3d 1014, 1015 n.** (9th Cir. 2003); Alvarez-Machain v. United States, 284 F.3d 1039, 1039 n.1 (9th Cir. 2002); Coalition for Econ. Equity v. Wilson, 122 F.3d 692, 711 (9th Cir. 1997). Here, for reasons that I shall provide in a memorandum to be filed in due course, I am certain that "a reasonable person with knowledge of all the facts would [not] conclude that [my] impartiality might reasonably be questioned." United States v. Nelson, 718 F.2d 315, 321 (9th Cir. 1983); see also Sao Paulo State of the Federated Republic of Brazil v. Am. Tobacco Co., 535 U.S. 229, 233 (2002) (per curiam). I will be able to rule impartially on this appeal, and I will do so. The motion is therefore DENIED. [7564262]"

(Crossposted from LGBT POV)

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Judges hate to be asked to recuse themselves. Most judges have the attitude that if they needed to recuse themselves, they already would have done so without being informed about it by one of the parties. Unless there is some rule in the 9th circuit that I am not aware of which requires an objection be made in regards to impartiality before hearing or have it waived, doesn't this motion only accomplish pissing off the judge?

Thank You bigots! Please, piss a 2 more judges hearing the prop 8 appeal and your legal standing! Maybe now it will be 3 upholding the decision!

I dunno. I'm torn on this one, and will look to read the memorandum. As nice as it might be to have an ally on the panel, I .do. think impartiality would be an issue, and I think people would be pretty upset if the CWA's president's spouse was on the panel for the same reason.

You want perfect impartiality? Hire a robot. Even then I ask, who built the robot?

Yes,I think it can't have the perfect impartiality in the world.Anything will be with a person's subjective consciousness.