Prop. 8 is totally in the hands of our California Supreme Court. One judge in particular, Justice Joyce Kennard, is on the fence.
While both sides cheered the court’s decision to take up the cases, Kennard’s lone vote to deny review could spell trouble for opponents of Prop. 8.Kennard is the court’s longest-serving justice, having been appointed in 1989, and has been one of its foremost supporters of same-sex couples’ rights. Without her vote, the May 15 ruling would have gone the other way. But she wrote Wednesday that she would favor hearing arguments only about whether Prop. 8 would invalidate the pre-election marriages, an issue that would arise only if the initiative were upheld.“It’s always hard to read tea leaves, but I think Justice Kennard is saying that she thinks the constitutionality of Prop. 8 is so clear that it doesn’t warrant review,” said Stephen Barnett, a retired UC Berkeley law professor and longtime observer of the court.For those seeking to overturn Prop. 8, “I would not think it would be encouraging,” said Dennis Maio, a San Francisco lawyer and former staff attorney at the court.