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Federal court upholds gay judge’s ruling on Proposition 8

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A federal judge in San Francisco on Tuesday upheld retired Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruling on California’s Proposition 8, after supporters of the measure accused Walker of being prejudiced in the case.

Sponsors of Proposition 8, California’s 2008 ban on same sex marriage, argued that Walker should have been disqualified because he failed to disclose his 10-year relationship with a male partner. Attorney Charles Cooper alleged that Walker, who overturned the same sex marriage ban in January 2010, had a personal interest in the outcome of the case.

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U.S. District Court Judge James Ware upheld Walker’s ruling that Proposition 8 violated the Constitution’s equal protection clause, noting there was no evidence that Walker should have recused himself from the Proposition 8 trial because he was in a same sex relationship.

“Rather than being different, same-sex and opposite-sex unions are, for all purposes relevant to California law, exactly the same,” Walker wrote in his 136-page ruling. “The evidence shows conclusively that moral and religious views form the only basis for a belief that same-sex couples are different from opposite-sex couples.”

Walker served as chief judge in the Northern District of California for six years before retiring at the end of February. After retiring, he publicly acknowledged his own sexual orientation and said he had been in a relationship with a male physician for 10 years. Walker was nominated to the federal bench in 1989 by George H.W. Bush.

“The presumption that Judge Walker, by virtue of being in a same-sex relationship, had a desire to be married that rendered him incapable of making an impartial decision, is as warrantless as the presumption that a female judge is incapable of being impartial in a case in which women seek legal relief,” Ware wrote in his decision.

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Ware added that requiring a judge to recuse him or herself solely because he or she was the member of a class subjected to the law in question would force minority judges to recuse themselves in nearly all civil rights cases.

“It is not reasonable to presume that a judge is incapable of making an impartial decision about the constitutionality of a law, solely because, as a citizen, the judge could be affected by the proceedings,” Ware added. “Although this case was filed by same sex couples seeking to end a California constitutional restriction on their right to marry, all Californians have an equal interest in the outcome of the case.”


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Trump ‘specifically pressured the president of Ukraine’: WSJ reporter explains bombshell report

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MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace on Friday interviewed one of the reporters behind a bombshell story on President Donald Trump and his interactions with Ukraine that are at the center of the whistleblower scandal.

"President Trump in a July phone call repeatedly pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden ’s son, urging Volodymyr Zelensky about eight times to work with Rudy Giuliani, his personal lawyer, on a probe, according to people familiar with the matter," The Wall Street Journal reported.

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Bombshell report confirms Trump ‘repeatedly pressed’ Ukrainian leader to probe Joe Biden’s family

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A new report from the Wall Street Journal confirms that President Donald Trump over the summer "repeatedly pressed" Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden.

According to WSJ, Trump asked Zelensky an estimated eight different times to launch a probe of Hunter Biden in a move aimed at crippling Joe Biden's presidential campaign.

"He told him that he should work with [Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani] on Biden, and that people in Washington wanted to know," one of WSJ's sources claims. According to this source, however, Trump on this phone call made no mention of foreign aid and didn't offer Zelensky an explicit quid-pro-quo for his cooperation in investigating Biden.

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Yale psychiatrist on what the whistleblower scandal reveals about Trump’s ‘self-defeating pathology’

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On Thursday, information emerged that a whistleblower in the intelligence community had officially submitted a complaint suggesting that President Donald Trump had had a compromising discussion with a foreign leader.

As the news circulated Friday, commentators raised the possibility that Trump had offered the president of Ukraine a stronger relationship in exchange for dirt on Joe Biden.

Raw Story spoke with Yale psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee, who has studied the president's erratic behavior.

Lee is a forensic psychiatrist and violence expert at Yale School of Medicine. She has been consulting with the World Health Organization since 2002, has taught at Yale Law School since 2003, and is author of the textbook, “Violence.” In 2017, she held an ethics conference that led to the public-service book, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,” and the World Mental Health Coalition. She also convened a panel to assess the president’s mental capacity and chairs a working group on a panel for performing presidential fitness-for-duty tests. She is hosting discussions on the need to speak about a president’s mental health at the Yale Law School and the School of Medicine this week.

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