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News Posted on August 16, 2010

Assoc. Dean Amar Comments on Prop. 8 for National, Local Media

Associate Dean Vikram Amar commented for media including Time magazine, The New York Times, San Jose Mercury NewsSacramento Bee, KQED, and New York Public Radio on prospects for an appeal of the recent ruling by a federal judge that struck down California's Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California. 

In his ruling, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker suggested that since proponents of the measure would not be directly affected by a lifting of the ban, they lacked standing to file an appeal, and that any challenge in the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit would have to be initiated by California's governor or attorney general, who have since declined to file.  By opening the issue of standing, Judge Walker has sent Prop. 8 into "uncharted waters," Associate Dean Amar told Time. "If the proponents don't have standing to appeal, then it's entirely plausible that the courts will rule that they did not properly have standing to go to trial," said Associate Dean Amar. "This is an issue he glossed over when he allowed them to intervene in the trial."

If the Ninth Circuit judges find the Prop. 8 backers do not have the right to request an appeal, they might also find that the federal trial should never have taken place, Associate Dean Amar said in an interview with the Sacramento Bee that was reprinted in several McClatchy Newspapers.  In that case, Judge Walker might be asked to decide the case on his own reasoning.  "I think Walker would probably reach the same result, even without a trial, but he would have to write a different opinion," Associate Dean Amar said.

Associate Dean Amar told The New York Times that defenders of Prop. 8 will need "to go up the appellate ladder" to the Supreme Court in hopes of a decision that will impact marriage rights of same-sex couples nationwide.  "They're not in this just for Calfironia," he said.

Vikram Amar, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Law with the UC Davis School of Law, is a national authority in the fields of constitutional law, civil procedure, criminal procedure, and remedies. His biweekly column for, a leading provider of online legal information, centers on his expertise in constitutional law.

Time magazine article

New York Times article

San Jose Mercury News article

Sacramento Bee article