Thursday, August 04, 2005

Koebke v. Bernardo Heights Country Club (Cal. Supreme Ct. - Aug. 1, 2005)

Since it's a high-profile case in the California Supreme Court about at important issue and that has a strong San Diego connection, I feel somewhat obliged to comment on this opinion, in which the Court unanimously holds that it may violate the Unruh Civil Rights Act to discriminate against domestic partners. The thing is, though, I don't really have much to say, since I think that Justice Moreno's opinion is pretty darn good, and engages in a thorough and cogent analysis of the problem that I think is genuinely persuasive. Which is not, of course, to say that everyone will agree. As assuredly is not the case. But it persuades me.

That said, after reading the opinion, take a gander at footnote 10 of the majority opinion and then Justice Werdegar's partial dissent. Footnote 10 is a stark contrast to the rest of Justice Moreno's opinion. It's not strong or persuasive at all; on this point, it seems like Justice Werdegar totally prevails.

And, quite frankly, I think that Justice Moreno knows it. Or -- at a minimum -- that he should. My read is that he's willing to give up this point in order to get a unanimous opinion. Even though it means articulating a very fine distinction that, in reality, doesn't stand up to even fairly superficial examination. And Justice Wedegar is willing to call him on it. As she does.

So that's my only substantive reaction to the opinion (or at least the only one I'll share). I'd feel bad if I felt compelled to make crappy arguments that I didn't believe were right merely to obtain a practical benefit like a unanimous opinion. At a minimum, I hope that Justice Moreno feels the same way.