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Short guide to the names and players


By Julia Rosen

Rick has been posting a fast and furious update to the proceedings, but there is not a lot of time to explain the cast of characters. So, for those who aren’t complete legal nerds and have not been following the case in detail for months, here is a brief breakdown of the major players.

Perry v. Schwarzenegger: the formal name of this case. Perry is one of the plaintiffs. Officially as Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger is the defendant, but he and the Attorney General, Jerry Brown have refused to defend Prop 8. Instead, the Yes on 8 campaign are the main defendants. The trial is being heard in the federal District Court. More background here.

Judge Vaughn Walker: is Chief Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and is the presiding judge for the trial. He was nominated to the bench by Ronald Regan and has been the chief judge since 2004. More here.

Ted Olson: former solicitor general, who has argued in front of the Supreme Court on a number of occasions, most famously on the winning side of Bush v Gore. He is one of the preeminent conservative lawyers in the country. He will be arguing for the plaintiffs, supporting marriage equality. WikiPedia entry.

David Boies: was on the opposing side of Olson for Bush v. Gore. Much like Olson, though on the opposite side of the ideological spectrum, Boies is an extremely well-respected lawyer with lots of experience arguing in front of the Supreme Court. He and Olson are long time friends.

American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER): The non-profit organization founded by Chad Griffin and Bruce Cohen which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiffs. Their website can be found here. formerly the “Yes on 8” campaign, the organization has evolved into an advocacy group and are acting as the primary defendants.

Ron Prentice: former Yes on 8 chairman who now serves at the Executive Director for, which is leading the defense.

Paul Katami, Jeffrey Zarillo, Kristin Perry and Sandra Steir: the four plaintiffs, two committed couples who are not permitted to wed under current California law. All of them testified on the first day of the trial.

Andy Pugno: chief legal counsel and current candidate for the Assembly.

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  • 1. auntygabby  |  January 11, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    great summary of the characters. helpful for jogging some old memories.

  • 2. pro-equality  |  January 11, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    typo: "Regan" should be "Reagan"

  • 3. Patrick Regan  |  January 12, 2010 at 12:29 am

    Yes, I don't want my last name to be associated with his…

  • 4. Dalton  |  January 11, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Sorry, G. H. Bush – the first Bush.

  • 5. Adam  |  January 11, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Well, I am a complete legal nerd, and I appreciate this–it really helped me get up to speed.

    (One quibble, though: Judge Walker's wikipedia link is missing the HREF attribute. Oh, and another thing you may want to add: Wikipedia link for David Boies)

    Loved the liveblogging today, and I'm glad to hear Rick's coming back tomorrow.

  • 6. Dalton  |  January 11, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Wasn’t Judge Walker appointed by G. W. Bush?

  • 7. Prop 8 Trial Begins &laqu&hellip  |  January 11, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    […] Who’s Who of the […]

  • 8. Womyn2me  |  January 12, 2010 at 1:11 am

    Who is this Blankenhorn person they keep referring to? what are his credentials?

    I find the liveblogging absolutely riviting. I will drop a contribution .

  • 9. CJ  |  January 12, 2010 at 1:55 am

    Thanks for this guide. It is very helpful! And thanks for the liveblogging. Great work!

  • 10. A  |  January 12, 2010 at 2:36 am

    David Blankenhorn is (one of?) the defense's expert(s), apparently a sociologist/anthropologist, president of the New York-based Institute for American Values, and the author of "The Future of Marriage."

    Here's an article he wrote in the LA Times about the need to protect children by protecting marriage:

    His entire argument is summed up in this quotation: "For healthy development, what a child needs more than anything else is the mother and father who together made the child, who love the child and love each other. … Every child being raised by gay or lesbian couples will be denied his birthright to both parents who made him."

  • 11. Womyn2me  |  January 12, 2010 at 3:23 am

    once again, I am mesmerized by this whole thing. thanks for the answer, A.

  • 12. A  |  January 12, 2010 at 3:47 am

    Mesmerized is the perfect word. I'm astounded that the defense is even trying.

  • 13. Reptile  |  January 12, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Cooper is the lawyer on the other side, right?

  • 14. audra  |  January 12, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Please tell us who Boutrous is. He or she is referenced but I don't know what side they are on or who they are or what their area of expertise. Thank you for this wonderful service you are providing us all!

  • 15. Carvel  |  April 17, 2010 at 5:06 am

    Where does the EQCA and the ACLU come into this picture. They apparently are not parties to the litigation and yet they have to respond to discovery of the defendants. There seems to be missing a step connecting the EQCA and the ACLU with the plaintiffs.

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