Thursday, August 05, 2010

Benefiting from Civil Rights makes you ineligible to judge them

Fox News wonders why a known queer was allowed to judge a gay rights case:
The neglected bias in the Prop. 8 trial has instead to do with the fact that – as reported in The Los Angeles Times last month – Judge Walker “attends bar functions with a companion, a physician.”
If (as The Times suggests) Judge Walker is in a stable same-sex relationship, then he might wish or even expect to wed should same-sex marriage become legally available in California.
This raises an important and serious question about his fitness to preside over the case. Yet it is a question that received almost no attention.
When a judge is obliged to withdraw from a case due to a conflicting interest we call it “recusal.”
Federal law requires that, whenever a judge knows that he has “any other interest [ that is, besides a financial interest] that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding” at hand, or when “his impartiality might reasonably be questioned”, he must recuse himself.
I am not saying that Judge Walker should have refused himself in Perry v. Schwarzenegger.
I am not saying so because nowhere (as far as I know) has Judge Walker volunteered or been made to answer questions about how the outcome of that case would affect his interest (whatever it is) in marrying, and thus his interest in the manifold tangible and intangible benefits of doing so.
So extending the logic of this position, Thurgood Marshall should never have been allowed to judge any case involving racial civil rights, Sandra Day O'Connor or any other female judge should never be allowed to judge sex discrimination cases and no member of a minority religion can ever rule on a religious discrimination case.

On all of these issues, Fox News apparently believes only straight white Anglo Saxon Protestant males can be trusted to be impartial and fair. After all they have no benefit on the line except the maintenance of a status quo that puts them at the top of the social justice peak.

1 comment:

rww said...

But if you believe that granting gays the right to marry will destroy "straight" marriages then a heterosexual married judge could be impacted by the ruling (if it went the other way) and would have to recuse himself.

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