Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Appeals Courts Issue Rulings on ACORN, Gay Marriage

Just when you lost all faith in the judicial system, two reasonable appeals court decisions surface. In the first, the Second Circuit upheld the ACORN funding ban:
A federal appeals court on Friday threw out a decision that had barred Congress from withholding funds from ACORN, the activist group driven to ruin by scandal and financial woes.
The ruling by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan reversed a decision by a district court judge in Brooklyn that found Congress had violated the group's rights by punishing it without a trial.
Congress cut off ACORN's federal funding last year in response to allegations the group engaged in voter registration fraud and embezzlement and violated the tax-exempt status of some of its affiliates by engaging in partisan political activities. [AP]
Separately, the Ninth Circuit has put the trial court's Proposition 8 decision on hold while the appeal is pending. Even if you support same-sex marriage, courts often postpone enforcement of a ruling in high-profile cases during the appeal process. The Proposition 8 appeal is on a fast track, with arguments scheduled for December 6. There is also an issue of standing, i.e., which party has the legal right to appeal the judge's decision that overturned California's voter-approved same sex marriage ban:
But in what may become a crucial element in the case, the appeals court asked the ballot measure's lawyers to offer arguments on why they have the legal right to appeal when the state's top two officials, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown, refuse to defend the law and say it is unconstitutional. Gay rights lawyers and San Francisco city officials have argued in court papers that the Proposition 8 campaign does not have legal standing to appeal, and Walker himself questioned whether they do in his order last week. [Mercury News]
Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate, favors civil unions but not gay marriage. She also supported Proposition 8 but has yet to take a position on whether she would defend it as governor.

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