Thursday, August 5, 2010

Brody's Scribbles... Right-wingers Falsely Portray Judge In Prop 8 Trial As Out Of Mainstream

By Brody Levesque (Washington DC) AUG 5 | As the ramifications of the ruling by U. S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker, in his landmark decision issued yesterday in the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, sink in to the greater consciousness of the American populace and in particular the LGBT community affected by Prop 8, the vitriolic filled voices of the ultra right were for the most part calling it "judicial activism."
 The Washington D.C. media watchdog group 'Media Matters' issued a research summary of the more prominent opponents press statements. Media Matters noted that the right wing has falsely portrayed U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker -- who is presiding over the Proposition 8 trial in California -- as extreme or out of the mainstream. But Walker was nominated by Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush and has been praised by Republican lawmakers:

Right-wingers attack alleged "judicial activism" by "liberal court"

FRC claims the ruling illustrates "far Left" is "using liberal courts to obtain a political goal." In an August 4 press release criticizing Walker's ruling, the Family Research Council criticized "the far Left" for "insisting that judges redefine our most fundamental social institution and using liberal courts to obtain a political goal they cannot obtain at the ballot box."
Liberty Counsel: "This is simply the whim of one judge." Mary McAlister, senior litigation counsel for the right-wing legal group Liberty Counsel, stated of the ruling: "This is a classic case of judicial activism. The Constitution is unrecognizable in this opinion. This is simply the whim of one judge. It does not reflect the Constitution, the rule of law, or the will of the people. I am confident this decision will be overturned." Judge is "in step with other judicial activists" and "has trampled the written Constitution." Randy Thomasson, president of, said: "As a Californian and an American, I am angry that this biased homosexual judge, in step with other judicial activists, has trampled the written Constitution, grossly misused his authority, and imposed his own agenda, which the Constitution does not allow and which both the people of California and California state authorities should by no means respect." to be "dedicated to defending and representing the values of parents, grandparents and concerned citizens who believe in family, faith and freedom,"

But Walker was nominated by Bush and Reagan, praised by Republican lawmakers

Walker was first nominated as federal judge by Reagan and renominated twice by Bush. Walker was first nominated as a federal judge in 1987 by President Reagan. As the San Francisco Chronicle noted, "It took nearly two years -- and two renominations by Reagan's successor, George H.W. Bush -- for the Senate to confirm him." Walker's nomination was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on November 16, 1989.
No Republicans on the Judiciary Committee opposed Walker's nomination. The Judiciary Committee reportedly approved Walker's nomination in an 11-2 vote, with no Republicans opposing Walker. Republicans on the Judiciary Committee were Sens. Strom Thurmond (SC), Orrin Hatch (UT), Alan Simpson (WY), Chuck Grassley (IA), Arlen Specter (PA), and Gordon Humphrey (NH).
Republican Pete Wilson "strongly supported" Walker. Reporting on the Senate Judiciary Committee's 11-2 vote to approve Walker's nomination, The New York Times stated on November 17, 1989: "Senator Pete Wilson, a California Republican, today strongly supported Mr. Walker. 'After sweeping aside all the mudslinging,' he said, 'the committee latched onto the truth and overwhelmingly indicated its belief that Vaughn Walker is qualified to serve on the Federal bench.' " An April 5, 1989, AP article (accessed via Nexis) reported that Wilson was "long a champion of Walker's cause."
Wash. Post: Walker had "drawn fire from San Francisco gay and lesbian groups, which have testified against his confirmation." In a November 15, 1989, editorial, The Washington Post wrote: "Mr. Walker has also drawn fire from San Francisco gay and lesbian groups, which have testified against his confirmation. Their complaint is that he represented a client, the U.S. Olympic Committee, in a trademark infringement suit against an organization calling itself the Gay Olympics. The suit was successful, and efforts were made to collect court-ordered attorney's fees from the organizer of the Gay Olympics, a popular gay rights leader who subsequently died of AIDS." The Post further wrote: "Resentment in the gay community is strong, but we fail to see why a lawyer in a trademark case where the defendants happen to be gay can necessarily be branded as insensitive to the rights of homosexuals."
Wired: Walker "known for his intellect and libertarian streak." A July 3, 2008, Wired article reporting on Walker's ruling regarding the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program stated, "Judge Vaughn Walker is no raging San Francisco liberal. He was appointed to the bench by President George H W Bush, and is known for his intellect and libertarian streak."
SF Chronicle: Walker is "an independent-minded conservative." A September 1, 2004, San Francisco Chronicle article about Walker's ascension to chief judge of the Northern District of California federal court reported that he is "an independent-minded conservative who has presided over high-profile cases on prisoners, banks and newspapers during 15 years on the bench."
LA Times quotes litigator calling Walker "a classic conservative legal scholar." A June 21 Los Angeles Times article stated that Boris Feldman, "a corporate litigator who has appeared before Walker several times," said the judge is "a classic conservative legal scholar in that he actually believes in rules. ... You don't hear a lot about fairness from him. You hear a lot about the law."