News Archive

Berkeley Law Students Blog from Landmark Proposition 8 Trial

By Andrew Cohen

Berkeley Law students Amanda Beck ’11 and Sarah Ruby ’10, both experienced journalists, are filing blog reports from the landmark Proposition 8 trial Perry v. Schwarzenegger at the U.S. District Court in San Francisco. The case is a constitutional challenge to Proposition 8, which denies same-sex couples the right to marry in California and was approved by state voters in 2008.

The blog, available here, provides daily accounts of the trial with an inside look at the legal tactics, witness testimony, and other courtroom events. Brought by two same-sex couples who wish to marry, the lawsuit claims that Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection by discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender.

Beck, a freelance reporter whose articles have appeared in the New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle, graduated from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism in 2007. Ruby worked at the Bakersfield Californian before law school, and co-wrote a San Francisco Chronicle editorial on Proposition 8 in 2008.

Although they created the blog together, Beck and Ruby post entries independently of one another to provide multiple perspectives. They are working under the direction of Joan Hollinger, a family law scholar and Lecturer in Residence at Berkeley Law.

The plaintiffs are represented by Theodore B. Olson, a 1965 Berkeley Law graduate and the former solicitor general under President George W. Bush, and trial lawyer David Boies, who was Olson’s opposing counsel in Bush v. Gore. The defendants are represented by Charles Cooper, the lawyer who succeeded Olson as assistant attorney general under President Reagan, and by the Alliance Defense Fund.