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University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law - Summer 2013

As two landmark civil rights cases go before the Supreme Court, the Pacific McGeorge community is watching them unfold with profound interest and long-standing ties to the issues. On March 26 and 27, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases that stand to determine same-sex marriage rights. A large number of Pacific McGeorge students, faculty and alumni are watching closely, in no small part because of their personal and professional connections to the litigation. The two cases are Hollingsworth v. Perry, the case challenging the validity of California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage by popular vote in November 2008, and U.S. v. Windsor, which seeks to strike down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, which confines marriage to unions of a man and a woman, passed by Congress by a wide majority and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996. Neither case is straightforward. Each has multiple layers that the high court must consider before it deals with the core issue of same-sex marriage rights. And with complicated standing issues in each case, it’s not certain the justices will reach the merits of either case, let alone write a broad, sweeping opinion. That said, the strong possibility remains that these could be the landmark civil rights cases of our era. Court watchers expect the decisions to come in June 2013, before the court closes out its term. Several Pacific McGeorge professors agree that these cases have the potential to be among the most far-reaching of this term. And with that, interest has reached a fevered pitch, particularly with the school’s ties to the cases. The lead attorney in the Hollingsworth v. Perry case is Ted Olson, who graduated from the University of the Pacific in 1962, before going on to become U.S. solicitor general, serving from 2001 to 2004 under President George W. Bush. He is now a partner with Gibson Dunn & Crutcher in Washington, D.C. He is half of the odd couple that masterminded the Perry litigation, setting it up for Supreme Court review. His co-counsel in the case is his one-time nemesis, David Boies, who argued for the Democrats, against Olson, in Bush v. Gore, which decided the 2000 presidential election. On the other side of the Perry case is Andrew Pugno, ’99, who serves as general counsel of ProtectMarriage.com. He is defending the case and has been active in the marriage issue since his law school days, when he worked for then-assemblyman Pete Knight on AB 1982, a failed bill that would have prohibited California from recognizing gay marriages from other states. Pugno, an attorney in private practice, ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for the State Assembly in 2012. E d A s m u s pac i f ic l aw 17


University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law - Summer 2013
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