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2d Prop. 8 case expedited

The Ninth Circuit Court on Tuesday morning ordered an expedited review of a second appeal on California’s Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage — a plea by local officials in Imperial County,  Calif., to enter the case in order to defend the ballot measure’s constitutionality.  The motions panel of the Circuit Court, in a two-page order, set the county’s appeal to be heard at argument  along with the appeal by the backers of Proposition 8 — that is, during the week of Dec. 6.   The written briefing schedule will be the same in both cases, concluding on Nov. 1.

When U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker on August 4 struck down the ban, he also rejected Imperial County’s move to intervene in the case, finding that it had no interest that needed to be protected by its participation and that it was not a proper defender of the ban.   The Imperial County appeal could take on added significance if the Circuit Court, when it reaches the merits of the cases, decides that the Proposition 8 proponents do not have a right to participate in the case.   Imperial County claims that it does have “standing” to appeal; if the Circuit Court agreed, that would solve any standing problem for the proponents; they could take part if just one party has a right to be there.  However, the Circuit Court would first have to rule that Imperial County is entitled to intervene in the dispute, and its decision on that question could have implications for the standing issue as well.