Tell Us: Does Judge Walker's Sexual Orientation Matter?

Comments (11)

Yesterday the San Francisco Chronicle’s Matier and Ross wrote a column identifying Prop. 8 trial Judge Vaughn Walker as gay. This wasn’t exactly “outing” the judge – he’s not especially public about his sexual orientation, but it’s well known in many circles that he is. The article described it as a “non-issue” – but that remains to be seen. What do you think? Should a judge’s sexual orientation be relevant in a case like this? Was the Chronicle right to reveal Judge Walker’s orientation in the middle of a high profile trial? Tell me in the comments.

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  • Eric

    Can female judges hear rape cases? Can minority judges hear discrimination cases?

    It must be a non-issue, even the defendants have said it is a non-issue.

  • Marissa

    No, it doesn’t matter in the same sense that it doesn’t matter if one if gay and in the military. If someone is capable at their job, it makes zero difference.

  • Jed

    To me it’s a non-issue but if the backers of Prop. 8 lose this case you can bet your life they’ll make it an issue. That’s politics after all.

  • Troy

    Of course it is not relevant. Shame on any who would try to make it so.

    The Catholic church poured a lot of money and energy into the pro-8 campaign. Are the 6 Catholics on the US Supreme Ct. going to recuse themselves for their “conflict of interest”? Of course not.

    Judge Walker has shown himself to be calm, collected and fair.

  • Dianne

    Yes, it does. Judge Walker has been amazingly biased and one-sided throughout this trial, far more akin to an activist than a neutral referee.

    It wasn’t six guys at Protect Marriage that passed Prop 8 it was 7 million Californians. But Judge Walker went so far as to order the Prop 8 campaign to disclose private internal communications about messages that were considered for public use but never actually used. He even ordered the campaign to turn over copies of all internal records and e-mail messages relating to campaign strategy.

    Even though the Prop 8 supporters were forced to turn over private, internal documents and emails, Walker has refused to demand the same from opponents of the measure. In fact, Walker has refused to even rule on a motion to compel the discovery of this information, even though he has already closed testimony in the case. That alone is an unbelievable tilting of the playing field.

  • Artie

    Would a heterosexual judge be any less biased about Prop 8? The issue is not the judge’s orientation, but his objectivity. If a judge demonstrates improper behavior, or even the appearance of impropriety, then his ability to preside needs to be examined.

    As previous posts have noted, judges come from diverse backgrounds. Nevertheless, they are expected to leave their biases at home, and focus only on the facts of the case. Had the judges been unable to establish their objectivity in the past, they would probably not be judges today. Also, there is a process in place (but often overlooked) which can remove judges who reveal overt bias.

  • 5891jonathan

    If the judge’s sexual orientation mattered, the defendants could have recused the judge. That didn’t happen. Therefore, it doesn’t matter.

    Go to law school if you want to opine on these matters. The judicial system has a process for recusing judges.

  • anthony

    Sure it matters. It’s something to hang your hat on.

  • zyle

    Absolutely it matters. An asexual judge should have been appointed. And only asexual voters should have been allowed to vote on Prop 8. There definitely should be a sexual litmus test.

  • Tom

    Oh yes it matters, just like it mattered when African-Americans were appointed to courts and to the Supremes, just like it mattered when women were added to the bench as well as the Supreme Court – having open gays on the bench means that there is greater diversity that breaks the limiting views of what used to be a white-male old boys club.

  • Jamie

    Would this be an issue if the judge was heterosexual? Would that bias him in the other direction? Perhapse we need a bi-sexual judge.