Vaughn Walker, the U.S. District Court judge who ruled California’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional, seems to be a wily sort.
As the New York Times observes:
“The ultimate outcome of the California case cannot be predicted, but appeals court judges and the justices at the highest court in the land could find themselves boxed in by the careful logic and structure of Judge Vaughn R. Walker opinion, legal experts said.
…Andrew Koppelman, a professor at Northwestern Law School, said “if the Supreme Court does not want to uphold same-sex marriage, its job has been made harder by this decision.”
The reason, he said, is that while appeals courts often overturn lower-court judges on their findings of law — such as the proper level of scrutiny to apply to Proposition 8 — findings of fact are traditionally given greater deference.
“They are supposed to take as true facts found by the district court, unless they are clearly erroneous,” he said. “This opinion shows why district