Who is Ted Olson? | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Who is Ted Olson?

Posted By on Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 6:25 AM

The NY Times profiles the lawyer, a pillar of the conservative legal community, who'll be arguing today to overturn California's ban on same-sex marriage on constitutional grounds. He says his involvement stems from long-term personal conviction on the issue.

“For conservatives who don’t like what I’m doing, it’s, ‘If he just had someone in his family we’d forgive him,’ ” Mr. Olson said. “For liberals it’s such a freakish thing that it’s, ‘He must have someone in his family, otherwise a conservative couldn’t possibly have these views.’ It’s frustrating that people won’t take it on face value.”

...

A hearing in the marriage case, filed on behalf of two gay couples, is scheduled for Wednesday in federal court in San Francisco. Practicing his opening argument recently, Mr. Olson declared that California’s ban is “utterly without justification” and stigmatizes gay men and lesbians as “second-class and unworthy.”

“This case,” he said afterward, “could involve the rights and happiness and equal treatment of millions of people.”

Chuck Cooper, who is representing proponents of California’s ban, argues that such a “radical redefinition of the ancient institution of marriage” would require the court to find a right that does not exist in the Constitution — the very type of judicial activism Mr. Olson has long decried. “I never expected him to take this case, or at least not this side of it,” said Mr. Cooper, a friend of Mr. Olson from the Reagan Justice Department.

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