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Because the three Proposition 8 cases are so important to the people, the hundreds of amici curiae and the judiciary, we'll be covering them in real time on this blog and on
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Visitors to the California Supreme Court today got a tiny preview of what to expect outside the courthouse on Thursday during the highly anticipated arguments into the constitutionality of Proposition 8.
A small but vocal group of men and women chanted anti-gay, pro-Prop 8 slogans at the court’s McAllister Street entrance as a few California Highway Patrol officers — who provide security for the court — and a couple of court officers looked on.
The protesters held a variety of signs — saying Prop 8 supporters “voted to protect the children,” that homosexuals are “anti-species” and that they are “intolerant, anti-Democratic, anti-American, sneaky and hateful.” Another sign showed two men kissing with a slash across the picture and the statement: “Do Not Validate.”
Hundreds more protesters — on both sides of the issue — are expected on Thursday during the three-hour arguments on Prop 8’s validity. Court security and San Francisco cops are on the alert.
Your scorecard after the jump: A full list of attorneys appearing before the court on Thursday to argue the case.
Shannon Minter, legal director of the San Francisco-based National Center for Lesbian Rights, will lead off arguments Thursday, which will be held from 9 a.m. to noon and which come one year and one day after the Supreme Court upheld marriage rights for gays and lesbians.
Minter, who represents six same-sex couples who didn’t marry during last year’s six-month window when about 18,000 such weddings were performed, will have the stage for 26 minutes. He will be followed by Raymond Marshall, a partner in San Francisco’s Bingham McCutchen, who gets 12 minutes to speak on behalf of five civil-rights groups, including the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, that fear an affirmance of Prop 8 could open the door to attacks on other minorities.
Next up is Michael Maroko, a partner with Los Angeles’ Allred, Maroko & Goldberg, who has 26 minutes to present arguments for two lesbian couples — one of which married last year, while the other didn’t. San Francisco Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart follows, with a 26-minute argument on behalf of the city that sparked the whole fracas when it began issuing licenses to same-sex couples on Feb. 12, 2004.
Next in line: Sacramento-based Senior Assistant Attorney General Christopher Krueger, who will argue AG Jerry Brown’s position that Prop 8 violates the state Constitution by stripping rights from a minority group that the Supreme Court just last year declared a suspect class deserving special protections. Krueger gets 30 minutes.
And last but not least comes Kenneth Starr, the former White House special counsel and current dean of Malibu’s Pepperdine University School of Law, who will argue the constitutionality of Prop 8 on behalf of the measure’s proponents. He gets an hour at the lectern.
Weirdly, Krueger and Starr will share the same side of the bench as respondents. That’s because the AG is listed as a defendant in all the suits filed by Prop 8 opponents. Brown surprised nearly everyone in December when he announced he wouldn’t defend Prop 8.
Supreme Court Clerk/Administrator Frederich Ohlrich said that when Minter is at the lectern, attorneys joining him on his side of the bench will be Marshall and Stephen Bomse, a partner with San Francisco’s Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.
During Maroko’s argument, his team will include fellow partners Gloria Allred and John West. Stewart’s comrades will be Deputy City Attorneys Danny Chou and Vince Chhabria.
Krueger’s support team will consist of fellow Deputy AGs Kimberly Graham, of Sacramento, and Mark Beckington, of Los Angeles. Joining Starr will be Andrew Pugno, a solo from Folsom who has handled the Prop 8 supporters’ case for a long time, and Alexander Dushku, a partner in the constitutional, religious and appellate practice division of Salt Lake City’s Kirton & McConkie.
Said Ohlrich in an understatement today: “It’s required a great deal of coordination.” The high court has been running a video on its Web site giving viewers an idea how things will work on Thursday.
— Mike McKee