By Advocate.com Editors
The U.S. court of appeals for the ninth circuit on Monday announced the three-judge panel that will hear oral arguments in the Proposition 8 appeal next week.
The San Jose Mercury News reports that the appellate panel — composed of judges Stephen Reinhardt, Michael Daly Hawkins, and N. Randy Smith — is ideologically diverse.
Judge Reinhardt, an appointee of President Jimmy Carter, is a staunch liberal known for controversial decisions, including a 2002 case which struck down the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance as violation of the separation of church and state.
A Clinton appointee, Judge Hawkins is seen as a moderate, the Mercury News reported, and was also part of the three-judge panel that imposed a stay of U.S. district judge Vaughn Walker's August ruling against Prop. 8. The stay delayed a return to marriage equality in California while the suit is appealed.
A Republican appointee, Judge Smith was nominated in 2007 by President George W. Bush and joined the court in the same year.
Supporters of the anti–marriage equality ballot measure, joined by a socially conservative county in Southern California, will argue two main points before the panel next week: that they have standing to appeal the case and that Judge Walker erred in striking down Prop. 8 as unconstitutional.