federal appeals court judge who had been asked to disqualify himself from
hearing the case involving California's same-sex marriage ban declined to
withdraw Thursday, saying he could rule impartially.
9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reinhardt was asked by supporters
of Proposition 8 to recuse himself from the panel that Monday will hear an
appeal of a decision that the voter initiative defining marriage as between
a man and a woman violates the Constitution.
is married to Ramona Ripston, longtime head of the American Civil Liberties
Union of Southern California. The ACLU has filed friend-of-the-court briefs
in the same-sex marriage case, urging the appeals court to uphold U.S.
District Judge Vaughn Walker's Aug. 4 ruling quashing Proposition 8.
a two-page order filed with the appeals court, Reinhardt pointed out that he
has disqualified himself in the past "when doing so was warranted by
the circumstances" and cited numerous cases in which he withdrew
because of a conflict of interest or the appearance of one.
will be able to rule impartially on this appeal, and I will do so," the
79-year-old judge wrote in denying the recusal motion.
named to the court by President Carter in 1980, was one of the three judges
randomly selected from among the court's 47 active and senior judges to hear
the appeal of Walker's ruling. The other two judges, drawn by computer
according to an elaborate formula weighing case complexity and each judge's
workload, are Michael Daly Hawkins, an appointee of President Clinton, and
N. Randy Smith, named to the court by President George W. Bush.