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Judge Refuses To Step Aside In Prop. 8 Case

Publication Date: 
December 03, 2010
San Francisco Chronicle
Bob Egelko

Professor Deborah Rhode spoke with the San Francisco Chronicle regarding the decision by a federal appeals court judge not to disqualify himself from the Prop 8 case:

A federal appeals court judge has rejected a request by the sponsors of California's ban on same-sex marriage to disqualify himself from next week's hearing in their case, saying he would not be biased by his wife's leadership role in the American Civil Liberties Union.

"I will be able to rule impartially in this appeal, and I will do so," Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said in a brief order Thursday.

He said he would issue a memorandum later explaining his reasons for remaining on the three-judge panel that will hear the Proposition 8 case Monday.


"When you have a judge's spouse who has directly participated in a proceeding connected to the case ... there's a reason why the public could legitimately have concerns," said Deborah Rhode, a Stanford University law professor.

"You don't want to muzzle the spouses of judges, but you also don't want to compromise public confidence in the legitimacy of a decision," she said.