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Sunday Late Night: Vaughn Walker Outed as Gay, Sam Alito Outed as Male; Who’s Next?

Chief Justice John G Roberts

Anything to tell us, C-J?

In multiple shocking developments to the American judicial system on the same day, Judge Vaughn Walker was outed as gay in the San Francisco Chronicle website this morning — and in a horrifying riposte, Justice Sam Alito was outed as male on the Courage Campaign’s Prop 8 Trial Tracker web-page by courageous out-er Brian Leubitz.

Judge Vaughn Walker is, of course, hearing the federal challenge to California’s Proposition 8, which bars gays and lesbians from marrying. According to Matier & Ross, city-paper political gossip-mongers:

The biggest open secret in the landmark trial over same-sex marriage being heard in San Francisco is that the federal judge who will decide the case, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, is himself gay.

Well, the bigots and homophobes certainly can’t expect a fair trial after that, can they? It makes a mockery of every single one of the judge’s questions about gays and lesbians, when he said “they” — and meant “we.” Won’t the tighty-righties make a big deal about this ‘new’ information about the judge, who was (incidentally) randomly assigned this case? In response, Andy Pugno, General Counsel for had this to say:

“We are not going to say anything about that,” Pugno said.

He was quick to assert, however, that Prop. 8 backers haven’t gotten a fair shake from Walker in court. He cited both the judge’s order for the campaign to turn over thousands of pages of internal memos to the other side and Walker’s decision to allow the trial to be broadcast – both of which were overturned by higher courts.

“In many ways, the sponsors of Prop. 8 have been put at significant disadvantage throughout the case,” Pugno said. “Regardless of the reason for it.”

Yeah, a significant disadvantage is when the judge who rules against your side is overridden on appeal, twice.

And in a shocking response to the in-paper revelation about Judge Walker, activist and known gay person Brian Leubitz revealed something even more horrifying about Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the odious and swiftly overturned-by-Congress Lilly Ledbetter decision, about a woman’s right to sue her employer for fair wages: he’s male!

So, did anybody comment about Justice Alito’s gender when he wrote the outrageous opinion in Ledbetter v Goodyear Tire that said that under the Civil Rights Act women could not sue after 180 days from the discriminatory decision, even if they didn’t know about the decision for years? The decision that ultimately spurred the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Act because it was so egregious.

Clearly, America is going to need a new standard of disclosure and recusal based on the identity and background of judges. It’s not about being activist judges anymore — now it’s about who judges are. We need to know not simply what judges’ views are before putting them on the bench for life; we need to know exactly how their identify might affect a specific ruling they might be called upon to make.

And since this case now in Vaughn Walker’s San Francisco courtroom is headed for the Supreme Court notwithstanding any lower court rulings, and since the Prop 8 defense is primarily about the sacred procreative aspect of marriage, Chief Justice John Roberts ought to set an example: married at 41, two adopted children.

Anything you’d like to tell us about yourself, Johnny R?

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Teddy Partridge

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