The Supreme Court’s decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry, issued today, will have something of a domino effect on the rights of Californians: The Supreme Court dismissed the defendants’ appeal on standing grounds, thereby reinstating a district court ruling that held Prop 8 violates the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the U.S. Constitution, thereby reinstating a 2008 California Supreme Court ruling that effectively created a state constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
The Perry Court’s immediate ruling is narrow: Prop 8’s civilian defenders do not have standing to challenge the district court’s invalidation of the law. Any defense of the law on appeal would have to come from California officials, who declined to defend Prop 8 or appeal the district court ruling finding it unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court’s decision effectively reinstates the lower court decision by California District Judge Vaughn Walker, which “declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional, permanently enjoining the California officials named as defendants from enforcing the law, and ‘directing the official defendants that all persons under their control or supervision’ shall not enforce it.” (See Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 704 F. Supp. 2d 921, 1004 (ND Cal.)).
The effect of the Supreme Court’s decision in Perry is complicated by this particular twist: California officials enforced Prop 8, but declined to defend it.