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Ex-Solicitor General Surprises Many In Bid To Overturn Gay Marriage Ban

Publication Date: 
June 14, 2010
The Washington Post
Robert Barnes

Professor Pamela Karlan is quoted on establishing a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, by overturning California's Proposition 8 in the U.S. Supreme Court. Robert Barnes of The Washington Post reports:

Cocktails had been served on the terrace, the ubiquitous Washington buffet of tenderloin and salmon consumed, and the gay law students settled in to hear from the famed legal mind who is leading the battle to make sure they have the right to marry whomever they want, wherever in the United States of America they live.

But first, an introduction: The assembled were reminded of Theodore B. Olson’s sterling conservative credentials; about his loyal service in President Ronald Reagan’s Justice Department; that he was President George W. Bush’s solicitor general; that perhaps the crowning achievement in his gaudy career as a Supreme Court advocate was persuading five justices to stop the vote counting in Florida in the 2000 election and acknowledge that Bush had won.


Olson argues that “tradition” would have meant that it was illegal for Obama’s parents to marry. Pamela Karlan, an opponent of Prop 8 and co-director of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic at Stanford Law School, is not as confident in the court as Olson.

“I wouldn’t want to be up in front of this Supreme Court” to ask for a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, Karlan said. “My own hope is that the voters of California will vote to repeal (Prop 8) before this case ever reaches” that stage.