An appeal hearing on California’s Proposition 8 case will likely not be held until early 2011, according to a briefing schedule posted today by a federal appeals court in San Francisco.
Sponsors of the proposition are appealing a ruling in which U.S District Judge Vaughn Walker on Wednesday struck down the voter-approved same-sex marriage ban. A notice of appeal was filed minutes after Walker’s ruling.
The briefing schedule, which was announced by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, does not set a date for hearing the appeal but provides for the final written brief to be filed in late December, suggesting a hearing will not be held until next year.
David Madden, a spokesman for the 9th Circuit, said the appeals court received the notice of appeal today and set a standard briefing schedule under its normal appeals process.
Proposition 8’s sponsors must file their opening brief by Nov. 12, and the plaintiffs must respond by Dec. 13. The initiative’s sponsors will then have the option of filing a reply two weeks later.
The appeal will be heard by a three-judge panel, which will issue
a written decision sometime after hearing arguments in the case. The judges
on the panel have not been announced.
The appeal is on the substance of the decision and is separate
from any possible appeals on the question of whether Walker’s ruling should
be suspended during the appeal process.
Walker on Wednesday issued a temporary indefinite stay suspending
his ruling and thus blocking the resumption of gay and lesbian marriages in
He ordered both sides to submit briefs by Friday on whether he
should grant a longer-term stay during the appeals process. The temporary
stay will remain in effect until he rules on those briefs.
If Walker denies an extended stay, the Proposition 8 sponsors
could appeal to the 9th Circuit. In that event, the appeals court might set a
different schedule for considering the stay issue.
Proposition 8, enacted by a 52 percent majority of state voters in
November 2008, amended the California state Constitution to read, “Only
marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
Walker said in a 136-page decision that the measure violated the
U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of due process and equal treatment.
CONTACT: Yusef Robb, spokesman for plaintiffs’ lawyers (323)
Carla Hass, spokeswoman for protectmarriage.com (916)
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