State Supreme Court topic of Berkeley forum

November 14, 2008 7:30:06 PM PST
One of the most controversial legal issues of our time was the subject of a forum on Friday at the U.C. Berkeley School of Law. Same-sex marriage dominated the discussion about how the state supreme court works.

"Few issues in this decade have been so contentious or have so arrested the general public as same-sex marriage," said Kenneth Starr, the Pepperdine University dean.

Some of the state's most powerful legal minds discussed how the state supreme court's May ruling was reversed by Prop 8.

"The dissents view marriage as an institution in history rather than the impact that marriage has right now on individual people's lives," said Professor Victoria De Goff, from Stanford's law school.

With new briefs challenging it, the justices wouldn't discuss Prop 8, but Chief Justice Ronald George, from California's Supreme Court did speak about the state's role on landmark issues.

"Part of it comes from a state where the cutting edge legal issues are raised and we decide which cases we will take up," said George.

U.C. Berkeley School of Law professor Jesse Choper said same-sex couples may end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.

"I think it's fair to say, they've deliberately tried to discourage it because they're afraid they're going to lose in the United States Supreme Court," said Professor Jesse Choper, with U.C. Berkeley School of Law.

The California Supreme Court has already received three lawsuits challenging Prop 8. They're waiting for legal briefs from the attorney general, due Monday. Then they'll decide whether or not to hear those cases.


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