Three Pacificans to Play Lead Roles in Proposition 8 CaseTwo alumni and a law professor from University of the Pacific are likely to be key players in the same-sex marriage case
Regardless of one's opinions about gay marriage or California's Proposition 8, which was overturned Tuesday by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, there is one unchallenged fact: three members of the University of the Pacific community are attracting nationwide attention because of the debate.
Pacific graduate Ted Olson '62 is one of two lead attorneys who successfully convinced a federal judge to overturn Proposition 8, a voter-approved law that outlawed same-sex marriage in the state. If this advances to the U.S. Supreme Court, Olson is likely to argue the case. Andy Pugno '99, a Pacific McGeorge graduate, was the lead attorney for ProtectMarriage.com, the coalition that defended Proposition 8 in the federal case.
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, a faculty member at the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, is the swing vote that legal analysts believe might ultimately decide the case in one direction or the other. Kennedy has been an adjunct professor at Pacific McGeorge since 1965.
Ted Olson '62
Olson is a 1962 graduate of College of the Pacific on the Stockton campus. He received his bachelor's degree cum laude with awards as the outstanding graduating student in both journalism and forensics. He later received a law degree from the University of California at Berkeley.
He served as assistant attorney general of the United States in the Office of Legal Counsel in the Reagan White House and defended President Reagan during the Iran-Contra hearings. He returned to private practice in 1984 and subsequently argued numerous cases before the United States Supreme Court.
His most famous case was in 2000, when he represented George W. Bush in the U.S. Supreme Court case Bush v. Gore, which asked for a delay in certification of the national election until a recount could be conducted in Florida. Olson successfully convinced the Court that such a delay would be detrimental to the United States, effectively making Bush the next president.
In 2001, Olson was appointed Solicitor General for the United States, a position he held until 2004 when he returned to private practice. During his time in the Bush Administration, Olson was rumored to have been one of the finalists to be appointed to the Supreme Court when Justice Sandra Day O'Connor announced she was retiring to care for her ailing spouse.
To many conservatives' surprise, in 2009 Olson teamed up with attorney David Boies, the person who represented Al Gore in the Bush v. Gore case, to challenge the recently passed Proposition 8. After successfully convincing a federal judge to overturn the law, Olson was named by Time magazine as one of "The 100 Greatest Thinkers of Our Time" in 2010. In 2011, both Olson and Boies were awarded the highest medal offered by the American Bar Association.
Olson later wrote an op-ed piece for Newsweek magazine (http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2010/01/08/the-conservative-case-for-gay-marriage.html) arguing that "true conservatives' would support same-sex marriage because it supports commitment to families, is an equal rights issue established in the U.S. Constitution, and that private practices between consenting adults is none of the government's business.