Recusals for everyone

RECUSALS FOR EVERYONE…. I know practically nothing about Judge Vaughan Walker, the jurist who ruled against California’s ban on marriage equality yesterday, other than the fact that he was nominated to the federal bench by former President George H.W. Bush. The relevant considerations at this point involve the ruling, his reasoning, his adherence to the law, etc.

But for some on the right, Walker’s sexual orientation is what really matters.

Fox News, for example, ran a piece from University of Notre Dame law professor Gerard Bradley, who expressed concern about the lack of attention paid “to one very troubling aspect of the case.” (via A.L.)

This is the question of the judge’s bias due to his possible interest in which side wins the case. […]

Battalions of commentators have wondered about his bizarre handling of the case, and many have attributed it to Walker’s belief that it is unjust for the law to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples.

Nor is the neglected bias related to the fact that (as several newspapers have reported) the judge is openly gay.

Of course, Walker’s opinions about marriage and sexual preference could be related to his own homosexuality.

Now, I have no idea whether Walker is gay, and I don’t care in the slightest. His ruling speaks for itself, and if the right wants to find flaws in the decision, conservatives can make their case — without going after the motives and/or personal life of the jurist who wrote the ruling.

But consider the implications of this line of criticism. Should an African-American judge necessarily be accused of bias if she considers a case of racial discrimination? Should a woman judge consider recusing herself in a case involving sexual harassment?

For that matter, why would a straight judge necessarily be preferable to hear a case involving marriage equality?

If the right has a problem with Walker’s reasoning or interpretation of the law, let’s hear it. But this talk about his orientation is cheap and irrelevant.

Update: Pat Buchanan is pushing the same line of attack. Imagine that.