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Prop 8 Standing Ruling Shakes Up Citizen Lawmaking

June 26, 2013Article
Law360

In a long-awaited decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the high court ruled 5-4 that private citizens seeking to reinstate California’s ban on same-sex marriage lacked standing under Article III of the U.S. Constitution to mount a federal appeal of the ruling that put the brakes on Prop 8.

The majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, rejected the right of citizens to bring such a challenge where they have not shown injury and where the state has refused to come to a law’s defense, a decision attorneys say may empower state officials in efforts to dismantle measures passed through the citizen initiative process. “What this decision does is it really gives the governors and attorneys general of various states a green light to basically decide which laws they want to defend and not to defend,” Ricardo Cestero of Greenberg Glusker said. “The ones they choose not to defend will be much easier to overturn.”

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