Are you a legal professional? Visit our professional site

California Supreme Court Hearing Prop 8 Cases Today

Article Placeholder Image
By Admin on March 05, 2009 7:49 AM

The California Supreme Court is hearing arguments today on the legality of Proposition 8, beginning at 9:00 a.m. You can watch a live feed of today's proceedings via the California Channel, as California's top court decides the future of same-sex marriage in the nation's most populous state.

The California Supreme Court is considering a number of legal isssues related to Proposition 8, which changed the state's Constitution to limit the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman. Most importantly, the court will decide whether Proposition 8 amounted to a "revision" of the California Constitution (as opposed to a mere "amendment"). A revision to the Constitution would require a higher procedural threshhold for passage than the simple majority vote through which Prop 8 passed on a statewide ballot last November. So, if the state's top court decides that Prop 8 amounted to a "revision" to the state Consitution, Prop 8 would be declared invalid. The other key question before the court is the legal effect of Prop 8 on same-sex marriages that were performed prior to the measure’s adoption, should the ban be upheld.

The Los Angeles Times reports that much can be gleaned from the interplay between judges and attorneys during oral arguments, and many eyes and ears will be on the California Supreme Court's "swing" vote: "The justices’ questions to lawyers often reveal how the court is leaning. Legal analysts will be carefully watching Chief Justice Ronald M. George, whose vote often determines whether the conservative or more liberal wing of the court prevails."

It is customary for the California Supreme Court to issue a ruling within 90 days of oral arguments, so a decision on Prop 8 and the future of same-sex marriage in California should come down before mid-June.