Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Law Professor Nan Hunter interviews Kate Kendell on Prop. 8 litigation

09/25/09 hunter of justice:

Law professor Nan Hunter interviewed Kate Kendell, the executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), while Kendell was in New York. I have transcribed part of this interview on the Perry case. Kendell speaks to an issue first raised in the amicus brief that NCLR, the ACLU, and Lambda Legal jointly filed in June. That issue concerns the appropriate scope of the challenge to Prop. 8. See the comments that I have highlighted.

Nan Hunter: "What's going on with the Perry case ... What do you think we can expect to see? Many are interested in the 'back story.'"

Kate Kendell: "We did not know the case was coming. We found out ... a couple of days before it got filed .... we got an e-mail from Chad Griff and Bruce Cohen, both people I know who are involved in the foundation funding the litigation. We had the same reaction a lot of people did ... this is a high stakes kind of play that is a huge reward if you are successful at the U.S. Supreme Court ... a huge risk if you loose ... Ted Olson [with whom she talked directly about the Perry case days after its filing] really convinced me that he is completely committed. He said that he thinks it will be the most important fight of his legal career, and I believe he believes that, and he means it. Does that translate into success? Well, that's out of his control, but I do think they are committed, that they will litigate it as well you possibly could. But I have the concerns that anyone would have with the stakes so high ... They have a very short time frame .. they have to present a very convincing case as they go up on appeal ... and they have to present the kind of case that gets Justice Kennedy, who's that fifth vote - I think that they will get the other four votes, but they have to get Kennedy. If it's just a narrow challenge to Prop. 8 - and the fact that Prop. 8 is unconstitutional - I think there's quite a good chance that that lawsuit would be successful. If it's an overall challenge to every law that prohibits same-sex couples from getting married, 29 states have constitutional amendments ... I think that is a really heavy lift for [the Supreme] Court, given Kennedy's leaning as a state's rights jurist ... There is nothing I would hope for more than for the lawsuit to be successful, because it would certainly transform things very quickly for LGBT people in this country.

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