Prop 8 challengers want ‘maximum impact’

The legal team challenging Proposition 8 in California has argued that proponents of the anti-gay measure don’t have legal standing to appeal a federal judge’s ruling last August that the initiative banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. But attorney Ted Boutrous, who was a leading player on the team headed up by Ted Olson and David Boies earlier this year, said the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals could rule on the merits of the case even if it finds Yes on 8 attorneys do not having standing.

More frequently, courts decline to rule on the merits of an appeal if the party that appeals the case lacks standing. But Boutrous suggested that, because of the high-profile nature of this case and because of the likelihood that Yes on 8 attorneys would appeal the standing issue to the U.S. Supreme Court, the 9th Circuit would likely go ahead and rule on the merits of the case.

Boutrous was speaking with reporters during a telephone conference call Monday afternoon, following the legal team’s submission of its brief in the 9th Circuit appeal in Perry v. Schwarzenegger. Yes on 8 attorneys have appealed the decision of U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker, who said Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees to equal protection and due process. Walker’s decision has been stayed pending the 9th Circuit appeal, which will be argued in December.

Boutrous said the legal team is not concerned “whatsoever” about speculation that Republican candidates Meg Whitman, for California governor, and Steve Cooley, for attorney general, might attempt to intervene in the Prop 8 appeal should they be elected and take office early next year.

“We’re not afraid of anyone’s arguments or their filing of briefs and getting their views across in this case,” said Boutrous.

“We would like to have the courts rule on the merits, in our favor,” said Boutrous. “That would have the maximum impact.”

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