A Heartfelt Proposition: Boies And Olson On CA’s Same-Sex Marriage Case

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Written By admin at Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

The two legal superstars leading the fight against Proposition 8, California’s voter-mandated ban on gay marriage, were chilling in New Orleans this weekend.

Chugging Hurricanes and flinging Mardi Gras beads at dewy co-eds?

No, that’s not how David Boies and Ted Olson roll.

The veteran litigators  were at an American Bar Association meeting to discuss the crisis in state judicial funding (more on that, and their insights into the future of the legal biz, later).

But the same-sex marriage case—known as the Perry trial, after lead plaintiff Kristin M. Perry—was clearly on both their minds.

“If we’re successful in California we can do something that is extraordinarily gratifying,” said Olson, the former Solicitor General, about the case.

Filed in May 2009 on behalf of one gay couple and one lesbian couple, the lawsuit challenged Prop. 8 on grounds it violated the U.S. Constitution. Here’s what LB had to say back then about the case.

On Tuesday a federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled that the law was unconstitutional because it used the initiative power to target a minority group and take away a right it possessed, without legitimate reason. The decision could land these veteran litigators and one-time adversaries back into their natural habitat: arguing before the Supreme Court.

Here’s an edited transcript of what Olson and Boies had to say before the ruling came down.

Law Blog: What case of yours made you most proud to be a lawyer?

David Boies: There have been so many that I have been lucky enough to be involved in. [Runs through the Boies greatest hits list: Bush v. Gore, United States v. Microsoft, Westmoreland v. CBS]

The Perry case in California that Ted and I are doing—while it’s still in process, it is, I think, one of the cases that I am proudest of.  The Prop 8 case.

Law Blog: Do you have any parting words for young lawyers or people considering the profession at a time when it is undergoing some pretty profound shifts?

Ted Olsen: This is the greatest profession on the planet. It is an intellectual challenge, it is an opportunity to do things that make you feel good about yourself and about the profession.

David mentioned the Proposition 8 case, where we had the opportunity to work together to attempt to change the lives of literally millions of people, if you think beyond California.

If we’re successful in California we can do something that is extraordinarily gratifying. And working with the people that may be affected by that decision, and talking to them and listening to them and looking into their hearts, we feel—and I know David feels the same way that I do about this—that we are deeply emotionally involved in something that is extraordinarily emotionally gratifying.

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