Thursday, February 23, 2012

Vaughn Walker Redux? Unmarried Activist Circuit Court Judge Declares DOMA Unconstitutional!

A U.S. District Court judge lives in San Francisco. He is apparently single and he is 67 years old. And even though he was appointed by George Bush, his decisions have been to the left of center.

Especially the last one.
BREAKING: BUSH APPOINTEE FINDS DOMA UNCONSTITUTIONAL | Moments ago, Judge Jeffery White of the District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause in a case brought by Karen Golinski. Golinski, represented by Lambda Legal, “was denied spousal health benefits by her employer, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.” White was appointed to the court by President George W. Bush in 2002. The decision represents a serious setback for House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), whose Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) defended DOMA after the Obama administration announced it would no longer defend the law.
So far, no source on the net has revealed any heterosexual tendencies: in all of his bios, there is no mention of a wife or family. Check out VoteSmart, wikipedia, judgepedia, and the website for the United States District Court  Northern California, Northern District California: no family whatsoever. There is no statement by White as to his sexual orientation either.

Of course, whether or not White is gay, speculation will run high and the Court of Christian Right Opinion will be delivering its verdict and accusations of conflict of interest will fly for sure. However, the old saw of  'activist judges" is bound to see a lot of action as well. Why? Because Hon. Jeffrey White was a Bush appointee! 

"Activist Judges!!"

One could argue that it was Dick Cheney who ushered in today's era of "activist judges" when he bemoaned the fate of Massachusetts in 2004:
"In Massachusetts we had the Massachusetts Supreme Court direct the state of -- the Legislature of Massachusetts to modify their constitution to allow gay marriage."

Since then,courts supportive of gay rights have been termed "activist" and the toll has became ubiquitous to such support. Iowa Supreme Court justices learned that the hard way when they unanimously voted to uphold a ruling of Polk County District Court granting gay couples the right to marry: three of the justices were voted out of office in 2010. 

Retired District Court Judge Vaughn Walker declared California's infamous Prop 8 to be unconstitutional. 

Brouhaha ensued even before it was learned that Walker was gay and in a long-term relationship. 

And, of course, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals became "activist" once they upheld Walker's ruling and declared that his sexual orientation had nothing to do with his ability to decide on the case. 

Watch Mark Fiore's warning against activist judges below. While it's satirical, the attitude it conveys is chilling.

The Election Year War On The Courts

Last December, presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich stated Courts “are forcing us into a constitutional crisis because of their arrogant overreach." He also created a firestorm when he stated that he thought some judges should be rounded up and arrested. And another aspirant to the presidency, Rick Santorum, said "They [the courts] have become in effect most powerful of the three (branches of government), and they should be the least."

Ron Paul: "For judges who see themselves as social activists, their vision of justice is more important than the letter of the law they are sworn to interpret and uphold."

Mitt Romney has come under fire for perhaps being the least vocal about "activist" judges: some people suspect him of liberal chicanery when it comes to appointments.
Judge Jeffrey S. White

The judge in question is no stranger to controversy about his decisions: e.g in revoking USDA approval Of Monsanto's Genetically Modified Sugar Beets, and in ordering a thorough review of the program's affects on other foods, White caused a stir among farmers and the likes of Monsanto Corporation. In other words, it was not exactly what George Bush would have done. And in 2005, White allowed four municipalities and various environmental groups to go ahead with a lawsuit against federal agencies, saying that government involvement in certain overseas projects contributed to global warming. Again, he didn't look like a Bush appointment, that's for sure. 

So is Jeffrey S. White a closeted gay liberal judicial activist? Should it matter? The Right may scream "YES!", while the rest of the country may not care. 

Ahh, the election year.

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