Appeals Court Punts to Buy Time

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   The panel of three federal judges considering the merits of Prop. 8 issued a flurry of orders Tuesday, including one that could delay for some time resolution of the fundamental constitutional questions. It all centers around the issue of legal standing -- who has it and who doesn't.

   After District Court Judge Vaughn Walker struck down Prop. 8, Then-Governor Schwarzenegger and then-Attorney General Jerry Brown declined to defend the measure by filing an appeal.

    Protect, the proponents of Prop 8, stepped in and appealed the ruling, saying someone had to represent the people. Imperial County also sought to intervene -- they were denied legal standing by the lower court and today the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision -- agreeing that Imperial County lacked legal standing.

   But on the question of standing for Protect, the judges asked the State Supreme Court for guidance. "We respectfully ask the Supreme Court of California to exercise its discretion to accept and decide" the question of whether proponents of a measure have a "particularized interest" in the initiative's validity "or authority to assert the State's interest...when public officials charged with that duty refuse to do so."

    Keep in mind, this is not the same State Supreme Court that wrote the decisions first legalizing same sex marriage, then upholding Prop. 8. Chief Justice Ronald George, who wrote both decisions, has retired ... and just yesterday Tani Cantil-Sakauye was sworn in as the new Chief.

   One thing is certain: California's ban on same-sex marriage will remain in effect until all the legal issues are resolved, probably by the U.S. Supreme Court,  or until voters pass another ballot measure legalizing same sex marriage in California once again.

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