An appellate judge will not disqualify himself
from hearing oral arguments next week in the federal Proposition 8 case, despite pressure to do so from supporters of the anti-gay marriage ballot measure.
Judge Stephen Reinhardt, a Carter appointee to the court, is married to Ramona Ripston, a former director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Southern California office. Prop. 8 supporters had argued in a brief filed Wednesday to the court that Ripston has "an avowed interest" in the case, "an interest that unquestionably will be substantially affected by the outcome of this proceeding."
But Reinhardt flatly rejected that request.
"I have not hesitated to recuse from cases in the past when doing so was warranted by the circumstances," Reinhardt wrote in a Thursday order. "Here, for reasons that I shall provide in a memorandum to be filed in due course, I am certain that ... I will be able to rule impartially on this appeal, and I will do so."
Earlier this week Reinhardt was selected for a three-judge panel that will hear oral arguments in an appeal of the case Monday.