California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger told the state supreme court today that he has decided not to appeal the Proposition 8 court decision to the 9th Circuit.
The definitive statement means the ability of Proposition 8 proponents to appeal will depend entirely on the legal standing of the Yes on 8 coalition.
Governor Schwarzenegger had until September 11 to make a decision and, though his position on marriage equality for gay couples has been changing, his most recent statements seemed to indicate he would not direct the state’s attorney general to appeal the decision from the U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
That decision, issued August 4 by Judge Vaughn Walker, found Proposition 8 violates the federal constitutional guarantee to equal protection. The Yes on 8 coalition filed its appeal and a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit has said it will hear the appeal during the first week of December, along with arguments concerning whether the Yes on 8 coalition has standing to appeal.
Hoping to shore up the legitimacy of that appeal, the Pacific Justice Institute, a conservative legal group, filed an appeal—Beckley v. Schwarzenegger—to the California Supreme Court this week, asking it to force the governor to instruct the attorney general to join the appeal in the 9th Circuit. The state supreme court ordered the governor and attorney general to weigh in on this matter today.
In a five-page letter September 8, Counsel for the Governor Andrew Stroud told the court, “Although Beckley may disagree with the Governor’s decision not to file a notice of appeal [in the Proposition 8 case in federal court], it was the Governor’s decision to make.”