California's Proposition 8

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Tobias Barrington Wolff
Professor of Law
University of Pennsylvania

• Researches and teaches constitutional law, conflict of laws, sexuality and law
• Co-counsel for major civil-rights organizations in Proposition 8 case
• Author of the one of the lead amicus briefs in Iowa’s same-sex marriage
case before the Iowa Supreme Court, representing a coalition of civil-rights groups

“The California Supreme Court could not uphold the use of the ballot initiative to take rights away from one constitutionally suspect minority group, they explained, unless it were willing to hold that any minority group can have their rights taken away by simple majority vote. And that is exactly what the California Supreme Court has done in today's sweeping opinion. In upholding Proposition 8, the California Supreme Court has said that no constitutional principle, not even the foundational commitment of equal justice under law, is sufficiently important to require the supermajority protections of the legislature under the California Constitution. The decision has the virtue of candor. I am frankly shocked that the Court was willing to state this proposition so baldly. It makes for very bad constitutional law.”