Was the Gay Judge Too Pro-Gay?

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During more than two decades on the bench, Judge Vaughn Walker almost never spoke publicly about his sexual orientation. The Republican jurist was long rumored to be gay, but it wasn't until he retired earlier this year that Walker told reporters he was gay and in a long term relationship with another man.

Prop. 8 backers filed a motion with federal Judge James Ware who replaced Walker as Chief Judge of the Northern District Court of California asking him to "vacate" the ruling -- toss it out -- because Walker should have, at the very least disclosed his situation. There will be oral arguments before Judge Ware Monday morning.

Most legal experts I've talked to doubt the motion has much merit. First, it's very late. These kinds of challenges need to be immediate -- like during the trial. Second, this is like saying a black judge can't fairly rule on civil rights cases, or female jurists cannot be impartial about gender equity issues.

The very premise of our legal system is that justice is blind -- that judges set aside their own perspective (as women, minorities, or presumably gay and lesbian judges) and rule based on the law.

It does muddy the water a bit, unlikely as it is to succeed.

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