These two paragraphs from Rich’s latest column really sort of sum up what happened in the Prop 8 trial. You should read the whole thing, though, as he pays tribute to Judith Peabody, the recently deceased socialite who just happened to be one of the first people to, in a high profile way, get her hands dirty by becoming a caretaker for AIDS patients in 1985, when nobody would speak of this mysterious disease which was suddenly killing gay men.
Much has been said about the triumph of the odd-couple legal team, the former Bush v. Gore adversaries Ted Olson and David Boies, who opposed Prop 8 in court. But of equal significance is the high-powered lawyer on the other side, Charles Cooper. He was named one of the 10 best civil litigators in Washington in the same National Law Journal list that included Olson and, in his pre-Supreme Court incarnation, John Roberts. Yet, as Judge Walker made clear in his 136-page judgment, Cooper, for all his talent and efforts, couldn’t find facts to support his argument that full civil marital rights for same-sex couples would harm the institution of marriage, children or anyone else. Cooper only managed to summon two “expert” witnesses. In the judge’s determination, one undermined his credibility by giving testimony contradicting his own opinions while the other provided “evidence” rendered worthless by its lack of scientific methodology or even fundamental peer-review vetting.
Boies and Olson produced nine expert witnesses with the relevant professional and academic expertise lacking in Cooper’s duo and compiled an encyclopedic record of empirical findings that demolished the arguments for denying gay families equal rights under the law. In the understatement of The Economist, that record “now seems a high hurdle” for the Supreme Court to overturn. That could still happen, of course, and already there are signs of a campaign from the right to besmirch the likely swing justice, Anthony Kennedy. Though Kennedy was a Ronald Reagan appointee who wrote much of the unsigned decision in Bush v. Gore, that did not prevent him from being called “the most dangerous man in America” by the family-values czar James Dobson after Kennedy wrote a majority opinion decriminalizing gay sex in 2003.
Now click over and read the rest.
[h/t Joe Sudbay]