John Eastman: Gay Judges Not Fit To Decide Equality

John C. Eastman, a law professor at the Christian-affiliated Chapman School of Law, wrote an editorial today for the San Francisco Chronicle in which he concludes that a gay judge is not fit to decide whether Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution:

If Judge Walker is indeed in a long-term, same-sex relationship, he certainly has an “interest that could be affected substantially by the outcome of the proceeding” – he and his partner are now permitted to marry! – and that, according to Judge Walker's own finding, has financial benefits as well. Such conflicts would have required recusal, and cannot be waived by the parties.

There is no logic to this argument at all, and its embarassing coming from a law professor.

Not surprisingly, Mr. Eastman's thoughts on recusal are malluable depending on the circumstances.  In 2004, for example, he farcibly argued that Justice Scalia should not recuse himself from deciding a case against Scalia's close friend, Dick Cheney.  

It would be a dangerous precedent

“They're trying to get him to recuse himself to change the outcome of the case, and that is an inappropriate use of this and it is a dangerous trend . . .”  He called the Sierra Club's request asking Judtice Scalia recuse himself  “politically motivated to try to alter the outcome of the cas, having nothing to do with Justice Scalisa's relationship with Dick Cheney.”

Sound familiar?


When asked about the appearance of 


When protecting rights under the Constitution, a Judge is always going to personally benefit from the decision.  After all, we're all better off when our rights are protected.  Take the right to privacy as an example.  When deciding constitutional issues, Judges decide cases that could personally affect them all the time. Let's look at just a few examples:

  • In Griswold v. Conneticut, the US Supreme Court struck down a law that prohibited contraceptives, holding that the When a Judge enjoins a polluter from spewing toxic pollution into the air, she benefits from that ruling by having clean air to breathe. When enjoining a company under the Clean Air Act As part of these ruling, the Judgexx