It's asking for someone who may have less involvement in the case. Does anyone know how much this issue means to him? Does anyone know for sure if he was or wasn't even a little biased?
What do you mean by that? I don't see proof in the procedure that he has undue involvement. Being gay alone (if he even is) would certainly not be sufficient. I would say most everyone is "a little" biased. Ethnographers are pretty much agreed on this. We don't throw away all the findings because of it.
No, and I'm not claiming that I absolutely know anything, but voting on the "right" side of things is not an automatic grant to bypass fair and unbiased process.
There is also bias toward more egalitarianism, and bias toward less. The 14th Amendment effectively means, the government shall be strive to make itself biased in favor of more and not less. So there is a process aspect to this. It's a little bit like innocent until proven guilty. I think it would be easier to argue the judge was biased if the ruling was not supported by some evidence and not so related to Equal Protection. That goes back to merits though, not to his orientation.
I'm honestly shocked that it doesn't seem obvious that a gay person could have a very clear and obvious conflict of interest in a case that involves gay people.
Well of course he could,
and so could anyone regardless of orientation. What bothers me, is that the first reason you offer for checking is his orientation. Show me the evidence of bad process first. Establish that, if it exists. Then
one can go on speculating indefinitely about motive.
Yay, quoting the Huffington Post, what a great news source for people who want a left-wing alternative to the Drudge Report fair and unbiased news.
Oh, yes, I know. Everyone in this thread only reads the most centrist material for ideas or they should be shot.
Simply someone who had already wrote pretty much what I might have said. It was a logical argument about the principles involved. You might find something more high philosophy (look up "reflexivity" in anthropology and ethnography, for instance). Dredge up a few of those judges and look at the history yourself, if you think the basic history is being distorted (what, Scalia wasn't White?). The logic works out, or it doesn't.
1. The post conveniently forgets the option of looking at a judge's ruling record to see if they have a history of slant or stays moderate, which seems like the obvious choice, but let's jump straight to the most extreme and go on and on about religious judges instead.
Well, I suppose that before waving red flags of discomfort about how he just "might" be biased, you might better start by looking at that history. I don't see that you have tried. You've left it to anyone who would dare defend the suspect minority to do all the work to prove
they have good people, while you merely sit back and murmur about suspicion
it might be otherwise simply due to their orientation. Funny how there is so much waving about "possible" bias by a gay judge on the basis of orientation alone. How often do we hear that about straight ones? Without evidence of misdoing, it often comes across as just whispering, fear, and yes a character attack. So... Yes, this is an Op-Ed, but it claims to describe the prior conventional wisdom about Walker. Do you see anything more methodical that says he has been all off kilter? http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/05/AR2010080504766.html
Federal judges hate it when journalists note which president appointed them, because they reject the notion that being named by a Republican or a Democrat has any bearing on how they interpret and apply the law. But in this case, which seems likely to achieve landmark status, it's worth noting that Walker is no card-carrying liberal. Known as a conservative with a libertarian streak, Walker was first nominated to the federal bench by Ronald Reagan in 1987. His appointment was stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee, however, because a group of House Democrats -- led by Nancy Pelosi -- claimed he was insensitive to gays and the poor. George Bush the elder renewed Walker's nomination in 1989 and managed to get it through.
It is also worth noting that both the San Francisco Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times have reported that Walker is gay. The judge has neither confirmed nor denied the reports, and the legal team defending Proposition 8 did not raise the issue -- perhaps because Walker has shown no hesitation to rule against gay plaintiffs or defendants when that is what the law requires.
I'd add, there was ambivalence about Ted Olson on the prosecution, given that he stood up for Bush in the 2000 election vote controversy. And of course, now the right is busy with whispers he's secretly gay because then there just "could" be a reason to doubt his procedure too... On and on.
2. To say that it's okay to allow people on the stand for a case where they have a conflict of interest just because they ruled on the "right" side is incredible hypocrisy. It doesn't matter what the case is, justice should always be served fairly, not only when it conveniences your cause. Remember that both sides think they're right, so for any religious conservative to bring this up again, maybe in California, maybe in another state, I'm almost positive you'd be looking at their choice of judge suspiciously, as well. What, you don't think a religious judge could make their ruling in an unbiased manner? Wait until they rule against it.
We can go on all day about alleged conflict of interest. Everyone's got some to go around. The opposition is sometimes alleging more significance than it deserves. That is why in political campaigns, it's known as character assassination or attack and fear ads -- typically more negative spin on candidate "character" than relevance to the issues. We might just as well do the other standard Republican card, and look for any hint of "improper" sex all year. So, what about the merits of the case? Proposition 8 was phrased to confer state approval upon a specific interpretation of marriage. Finding that to have unequal material effects on people, does not require a whole lot of bias. It happens to be quite reasonable.
3. Comparing it to civil rights is weak, at best. It's a completely lopsided comparison. Being unable to get married and receive benefits puts gays at the level of any straight, unmarried person in the US who, coincidentally, also cannot have the same benefits as married people, minus the actual choice to do so
Show me what you mean? If it were about unemployment benefits, for example, I read that straight California couples about
to be married can apply for them and receive them. Gay couples cannot under Prop 8, because the existing legislation ties those benefits to the status of marriage
-- denying minorities the right to vote, sit at the front of buses, take a position in the court (which, hey, gays can even do during their movement!), the ability to hold a notable job, to live in an integrated neighborhood, and economic independence, to name a few, are nowhere near on the same level.
That seems a bit like saying Blacks once had 10% of White equality, maybe now have 65%, but there is no comparison because gays might have 85% of straight status. Irrelevant. Civil rights and the gay movement are both in pursuit of absolute equality. Equal Protection does not say people are entitled to a just some percentage
of institutional protection. It says no one can be denied "equal protection of the laws." ( http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment14/
). We can still find many communities where it is much more difficult for gays to live without fear than others and where law enforcement, for instance, does not treat them as well as others. Employment discrimination on the basis of orientation continues under other excuses, much as it does for race. Forget "level" here. The issue is about principle.
It makes it sound like anyone who thinks he could be biased doesn't want to give him equal rights, and that is blatantly false. It just doesn't follow. It should never be a battle of proving your cause by getting just the right person on the stand, but it seems that a lot of people don't care how they get their way so long as it's done.
I think it's more emphasizing that the people who are only talking about his orientation have the onus upon themselves to first prove he's actually done something wrong. Be skeptical if you like, but where is the empirical evidence to warrant pages of postings hissing about orientation as motive -- as if the ruling were already shown to be procedurally flawed. Motive is notoriously difficult to prove. The courts will review the case anyway. Don't ask me when it will be "done." What's bothersome to me and I think to Uyghur, is that we can't see that Walker's critics have made a case apart
from going on about "What, is he gay?"
4. Nobody in this thread is claiming that the judge absolutely was biased. I've stated again and again that no, I don't know for sure that his ruling was biased, that I am still happy with the outcome, but that I am dubious as to his level of impartiality. And you know? You have no idea that he wasn't, either. If that's character assassination to admit you can't come to an absolutely certain answer about someone, then I guess I'm guilty.
It's redundant to demand that he be reviewed on the basis of orientation, when he's going to be anyway. It's a little crass to harp on orientation at length as a possible motive, while the same is not normally done for straight people whenever they make a ruling about so many other issues which do affect gays. And when people start trying to shut down material, legitimate complaints of identities with really sweeping attacks on displays of "pride" or
upon orientation as a choice...
When people start using terms like intolerance and bigotry to make more room for repeated, redundant and ultimately unprovable suspicion of someone's judgment -- particularly when the terms are being used against groups that in fact have been on the losing side of real, historical discrimination and not yet able to restrain the institutional direction of those attitudes in the society -- Yes, then I start to say character attack, etc. There's a point at which people cannot reasonably use slandering words like "bigot" or "racist" in their own name. It starts to show when they have latched themselves to agendas that are generally ignorant of how insitutional, cultural, and macro-level discrimination and inequality actually work. And often, when they refuse to connect the dots across the history of multiple identities.