If you are like me, you know a little bit about this case and about the unlikely pairing of Ted Olson and David Boies but not how these two came together on such an inflammatory issue.
Perry et al v. Schwarzenegger et al
Challenge to "Proposition 8"
Chief Judge Vaughn R Walker
United States District Court for the Northern District of California
American Foundation for Equal Rights is the place to go for updates and to get links to interviews, etc.
Pending approval by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, we will be able to see delayed tapes of the trial on Proposition 8 that begins Monday in San Francisco.
Youtube of historic proportion!
Challenging Prop 8: The Hidden Story
How Hollywood activists seized control of the fight for gay marriage
Here is an excerpt but the whole story deserves to be read. It reads like a thriller novel.
This is the story behind the filing of Perry v. Schwarzenegger.
As Chad Griffin tells it, the idea for filing a federal challenge to Prop. 8 took shape ten days after it passed with 52 percent of the vote. Griffin and Kristina Schake, his business partner in the Los Angeles communications firm Griffin/Schake, had joined director Rob Reiner and his wife, Michele, for lunch at the Polo Lounge in the Beverly Hills Hotel. Griffin had produced three television ads and raised money for the "No on 8" campaign; the Reiners were contributors, as well as Griffin's longtime clients. The four discussed the failed campaign and other election results.
After Griffin left, an acquaintance of the Reiners, Kate Moulene, stopped by and learned that they had discussed Prop. 8. Moulene later phoned Michele Reiner to suggest they talk to her former brother-in-law, Ted Olson, because, she said, he supported gay marriage. Though Olson has a long history as a prominent Republican lawyer—he served in both the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations—his leanings tend to be more libertarian than socially conservative.
The Reiners phoned Griffin about contacting Olson. "I would have been crazy not to talk to him if it were true that such a prominent conservative and legal scholar was on our side," Griffin says.
Because Olson's involvement would be major news, secrecy was imperative. On November 21, a week after the Polo Lounge lunch, Griffin met Olson at Gibson Dunn's Washington, D.C., office. There, Olson declared his interest in taking a case challenging the constitutionality of Prop. 8.
Ted Olson—keenly aware of his reputation as a prominent conservative—says he knew from the beginning that he would need to try the Perry case with co-counsel. "I wanted to have someone who would have credibility with people who might be suspicious of what I'm doing here," he says. "I wanted people to be comfortable with the lawyering, and the judiciary to feel that this was not a liberal or a conservative issue; that it wasn't a political issue, it was a legal issue."
In a May 10 conference call with Boutrous and the AFER principals, Olson presented his idea. "Everyone on the call said, 'Oh, my God, do you think he would do it? That would be fantastic,' " Olson says. When he spoke by phone with Boies a few days later at his New York office, Boies immediately said yes. The following week Griffin flew to New York to meet with Boies and Theodore Uno, an associate at Boies, Schiller's Oakland office. "We talked about timing," Boies says. "We talked about the fact that there were obviously people in the gay and lesbian community who were concerned about bringing a federal challenge, and why we thought a federal challenge made sense."
David Boies appeared on GMA Weekend and had this to say:
Boies: I think this is one of the most important civil rights cases of our generation. As the Supreme Court has repeatedly held, Marriage is a fundamental right of every human being and to deprive gay and lesbian couples of this right causes them enormous damage without gaining society anything.
The whole point of a Constitution is, the Constitution and Bill of Rights limits what a majority can do with respect to minority rights. If you were simply going to apply what the majority rules, you wouldn't need a Constitution or Bill of Rights.
David Frum thinks the GOP should thank Ted Olson. He describes how the right has always been on the wrong side of civil liberty issues.
In every one of these fights, conservatives have been on the wrong side of history. Our natural instinct to fight against any radical change in the makeup of society can, and has blinded us to real injustices. The positions some of those we call our own have taken on these issues are quite simply indefensible. Today, hardline conservatives are dug in opposing yet another inevitable development: gay people will one day be able to wed in the eyes of the law. Victories like the one earned by conservatives in New York yesterday do little but delay the inevitable and give Democrats more ammunition to use as evidence that the Republican party is an intolerant, ignorant group of belligerent dinosaurs.
The two men, who faced off in Bush vs. Gore, are quite possibly the best two constitutional lawyers in the United States, and together they represent a formidable legal force to be reckoned with. If they were to succeed in showing the California ban to be what it is, an unconstitutional law that is, in Olson’s words, "utterly without justification" and that brands gays and lesbians as "second-class and unworthy" in the eyes of the law, Republicans will owe the two a debt of gratitude for saving the party from twenty years of supporting a position that 20 years from now men and women will view as utterly abominable.