Press Releases and Media Advisories

Media Advisory

Monday, January 11, 2010


Berkeley Law Scholars Available to Comment on Court Challenge to Prop 8

Law students blog daily from federal courtroom

Contact: Susan Gluss, UC Berkeley School of Law, 510.642.6936 or sgluss@law.berkeley.edu

Berkeley, CA—January 11, 2010… UC Berkeley School of Law scholars are available to comment on Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8 that begins today in San Francisco federal district court. Two Berkeley Law students will also offer their unique perspective by blogging from the courtroom itself.

The lawsuit, brought by two same-sex couples who wish to marry, says California’s Prop 8 violates the U.S. constitutional guarantee of equal protection by discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender. The city of San Francisco is a party to the suit. The nonjury trial in Judge Vaughn Walker’s courtroom is scheduled to last up to three weeks.

Berkeley Law students will provide daily accounts of the trial, with an inside look at the courtroom drama, witness testimony, legal maneuvers, and more. Their coverage of the high-stakes trial will be based on solid legal schooling at Berkeley Law, giving them a deeper understanding of the legal strategies by both sides of the case.

Perry v. Schwarzenegger plaintiffs are represented by Theodore B. Olson, the former solicitor general under President George W. Bush, and David Boies, the Democratic trial lawyer who was his opposing counsel in Bush v. Gore. Defendants are represented by Charles Cooper, a Washington lawyer who succeeded Olson as assistant attorney general under Reagan, and by the Alliance Defense Fund.

UC Berkeley School of Law scholars available for interviews include:

Berkeley Law Professor Jesse Choper, a constitutional scholar and expert on the U.S. Supreme Court. Choper wrote a brief in favor of plaintiffs in the California Supreme Court re: Marriage Cases, and advised the Court to rule on the basis of constitutional interpretation—not public opinion. The Court found Prop 8 unconstitutional in May 2009.

Direct contact: jchoper@law.berkeley.edu, or 510.642.0339

Berkeley Law Lecturer Joan Hollinger will be attending Perry v. Schwarzenegger and advising student bloggers. Hollinger is a family law scholar who co-authored an amicus brief in support of civil marriage for gay couples in re: Marriage Cases. The brief argued that the California Legislature and courts had already determined that there was no meaningful difference between committed same-sex and opposite-sex couples, and had therefore extended full recognition and legal protections to same-sex partners and their children. Direct contact: jhollinger@law.berkeley.edu, or 510-642-1419.

Berkeley Law Assistant Professor Melissa Murray, a family law scholar with specific expertise in family status and care-giving obligations. Murray is the author of a forthcoming article on Parental Rights and Proposition 8 in the Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

Direct contact: mmurray@law.berkeley.edu or 510- 643-6127.

Berkeley Law student bloggers include:

Amanda Beck is a second-year law student at Berkeley Law and freelance reporter whose work has appeared in The New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. Beck graduated from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism in 2007. She entered law school to learn more about human rights and legal approaches to social justice issues.

Sarah Ruby is a third-year law student at Berkeley Law. She came to law school by way of newspapers, most recently the Bakersfield Californian where she covered environmental issues. While in law school, she co-wrote an editorial about Prop 8 for the San Francisco Chronicle. Her main legal interests are constitutional and criminal law.

Read the “Prop 8 on Trial” Blog: http://prop8.berkeleylawblogs.org/

To arrange an interview with any of these experts, please contact Susan Gluss, sgluss@law.berkeley.edu or 510-642-6936.

About University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

For over a century, Berkeley Law has prepared lawyers to be skilled and ethical problem-solvers. The law school’s curriculum—one of the most comprehensive and innovative in the nation—offers its J.D. and advanced degree candidates a broad array of nearly 200 courses. Students collaborate with leading scholars and practitioners working on complex issues at more than a dozen interdisciplinary centers, institutes, and clinical programs within its Boalt Hall complex. For more information, visit http://www.law.berkeley.edu/