Supreme Court Is Not the Proper Venue for the City to Present Evidence That Discriminatory Marriage Laws are Unconstitutional, Unjustifiable, Herrera Says
A new application filed with the Supreme Court of California today by three San Francisco-based petitioners represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, the Center for Marriage Law and the Law Offices of Terry L. Thompson will once again seek an immediate halt to the City’s issuance of same-sex marriage licenses. City Attorney Dennis Herrera will represent San Francisco County Clerk Nancy Alfaro as the respondent in the new case, which is similar to two previous efforts that failed in San Francisco Superior Courts. Judge James Warren on Feb. 17 and Judge Ronald Quidachay on Feb. 20 ruled that the petitioners had failed to demonstrate “competent evidence showing immediate and irreparable harm,” a necessary standard for the court to order such a stay.
The Notice of Application for an Immediate Stay and a Peremptory Writ of Mandate in the First Instance requests the Supreme Court to exercise “original jurisdiction” that would effectively bypass the state trial court and appellate court levels. The high court has discretion over whether to accept the application or remand the action to a lower court.
“We believe that the petitioners have made a wholly unconvincing case for why the California Supreme Court should exercise its original jurisdiction here,” Herrera said. “Trial courts are uniquely well-suited to receive and evaluate the substantial factual evidence that will be necessary for the City to fairly and effectively present its case on the merits-that laws prohibiting marriage between same-sex couples are unconstitutional and unjustifiable. The judicial process should properly allow the high court to reach the merits of the constitutional question when it may do so with the aid of lower court findings, rather than in the absence of lower court findings.”