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Published: 12/26/10

Year in Review: The Five Most Overblown Legal Stories

By  Andrew Cohen - Politics Daily
Year in Review: The Five Most Overblown Legal Stories

In this three-part series, Politics Daily's legal analyst Andrew Cohen takes a look back at the year in the law. Part 1 focused on the year's most under-reported legal stories. Part 2 below focuses on the year's most over-reported legal stories. And Part 3 will wrap up the year-end package with a look at major legal events and issues. The Five Most Overblown Legal Stories of 2010 No. 1. The same-sex marriage judge in California is gay. We don't talk anymore in America about the integrity of female judges who decide cases involving issues of interest to women. We don't talk anymore in...

Published: 12/14/10

Health Care and Same-Sex Marriage: Liberty for Me, but Not for Thee

By  Andrew Cohen - Politics Daily
Health Care and Same-Sex Marriage: Liberty for Me, but Not for Thee

The e-mails came pouring into in-boxes throughout the world of journalism and politics and law Monday afternoon, celebratory messages from conservative groups and others opposed to the nation's new health care laws, and they all made the same essential point: U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson's ruling that day, striking down the "individual mandate provision" of what so many of them ignobly called "Obamacare," was a victory for "freedom" and "liberty." "Today is a great day for liberty," said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). "Liberty requires limits on government, and today those limits have been...

Published: 12/8/10

Prop 8 Debate Covers All Bases as California Awaits Gay-Marriage Ruling

By  Andrew Cohen - Politics Daily
Prop 8 Debate Covers All Bases as California Awaits Gay-Marriage Ruling

What you thought of Monday's appeals court argument over the fate of same-sex marriage in California likely depends upon what you think of the merits of the issue. If you support Proposition 8, and therefore oppose same-sex marriage, you likely considered the oral argument before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals an annoying roadblock on the way to the conservative U.S. Supreme Court. But if you oppose the 2008 state ballot initiative, and therefore support same-sex marriage, you likely considered the hours-long debate between the lawyers and the three-judge panel a fascinating milestone...

Published: 12/5/10

Same-Sex Marriage Battle Over Proposition 8 Arrives at Appeals Court

By  Andrew Cohen - Politics Daily
Same-Sex Marriage Battle Over Proposition 8 Arrives at Appeals Court

When we last left California's pitched battle over same-sex marriage, in the heat of summer, its supporters had won a landmark constitutional ruling from a judge in San Francisco. The decision by U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, the result of a long and notably one-sided trial, struck down Proposition 8, the ballot initiative by which a slim majority of voters had sought to ban marriages between gay and lesbian couples. Supporters of the measure, who are opponents of same-sex marriage, were able to stay the effect of Walker's order pending appellate review. On Monday, that appellate review...

Published: 09/15/10

Immigration, Terrorism, Health Care: Hot Issues Pack Fall Court Docket

By  Andrew Cohen - Politics Daily
Immigration, Terrorism, Health Care:  Hot Issues Pack Fall Court Docket

As the vacations of August give way to the business of September, the legal beat this week is beginning to heat up. Here, in no specific order, are a few of the higher-profile legal stories that are going to pop in one direction or another before too long. 1. Don't Ask Don't Tell. Last week, a federal judge in California declared unconstitutional the Pentagon's controversial "don't ask don't tell" policy toward gay and lesbian service members. Next week, the Senate is expected to take up the issue. Will the judge's ruling give the lawmakers legal cover? Or will the decision -- and the...

Published: 08/16/10

Same-Sex Marriages in California Will Wait, at Least Until December

By  Andrew Cohen - Politics Daily
Same-Sex Marriages in California Will Wait, at Least Until December

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit blocked on Monday afternoon the resumption of same-sex marriages in California until at least December, at which time the court will hear oral arguments over the legality of Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot initiative that outlawed same-sex marriage in the Golden State. The ruling rejects and reverses the Aug. 18 deadline set last week by U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, the trial judge in the case of Perry v. California, who earlier this month ruled Prop 8 unconstitutional under the equal protection and due process clauses of the Constitution....

Published: 08/15/10

Prop 8 Talking Points on Same-Sex Marriage for Your Next Dinner Party

By  Andrew Cohen - Politics Daily
Prop 8 Talking Points on Same-Sex Marriage for Your Next Dinner Party

In the 10 days since U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker issued his landmark same-sex marriage ruling in California, there has been an astonishing amount of public debate over the topic, his decision, the Constitution and the role of popular will as expressed in the law. Much of the debate has been interesting. A lot more of it has been downright silly or just plain cruel. In drawing out Americans for their views on marriage and equality, Judge Walker's gauntlet has unintentionally but embarrassingly exposed, from sea to shining sea, some fundamental misunderstandings about the law and power...

Published: 08/12/10

Judge Keeps Same-Sex Nuptials on Hold, for Now

By  not in system - AOL News
Judge Keeps Same-Sex Nuptials on Hold, for Now

The federal judge in California who last week struck down the state's same-sex marriage ban ruled Thursday that local officials there still do not have the legal authority to marry same-sex couples for at least another week....

Published: 08/12/10

Prop 8: Same-Sex Marriages Delayed At Least Six More Days

By  Andrew Cohen - Politics Daily
Prop 8: Same-Sex Marriages Delayed At Least Six More Days

The federal judge in California who last week struck down the state's same-sex marriage ban ruled Thursday that local officials there still do not have the legal authority to marry same-sex couples for at least six more days. In an 11-page order, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker denied a request by supporters of Proposition 8 to keep the marriage ban in place pending their appeal of his landmark 136-page ruling. But at the same time, the veteran judge, an appointee of both Ronald Reagan and the first President George Bush, gave same-sex marriage opponents six days, to the end of business on...

Published: 08/12/10

Judge Walker Says Calif. Gays Can Wed Soon; America Moves Toward Acceptance

By  David Knowles - AOL News
Judge Walker Says Calif. Gays Can Wed Soon; America Moves Toward Acceptance

(Aug. 12) -- The incoming tide shows no signs of turning. On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that legally recognized marriages of gay and lesbian couples living in California can resume on Aug. 18, the Los Angeles Times reported. Walker's directive comes after the state's governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and its attorney general, Jerry Brown, each filed motions to allow same-sex marriages to once again be performed in the Golden State. Following Walker's ruling against Proposition 8, supporters of the amendment to California's Constitution, which defined marriage as...

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