I’m not an attorney, but I know that findings of fact are far more weighty because appellate courts defer to them more than conclusions of law. Dahlia Lithwick has a nice article over at Slate and reports Judge Walker had eighty Findings of Fact – EIGHTY!
Then come the elaborate “findings of fact”—and recall that appellate courts must defer far more to a judge’s findings of fact than conclusions of law. Here is where Judge Walker knits together the trial evidence, to the data, to the nerves at the very base of Justice Kennedy’s brain. Among his most notable determinations of fact, Walker finds: states have long discriminated in matters of who can marry; marital status affects immigration, citizenship, tax policy, property and inheritance rules, and benefits programs; that individuals do not choose their own sexual orientation; California law encourages gay couples to become parents; domestic partnership is a second-class legal status; permitting same-sex couples to marry does not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, or otherwise screw around. He found that it benefits the children of gay parents to have them be married and that the gender of a child’s parent is not a factor in a child’s adjustment. He found that Prop 8 puts the force of law behind a social stigma and that the entirety of the Prop 8 campaign relied on instilling fears that children exposed to the concept of same-sex marriage may become gay. (Brand-new data show that the needle only really moved in favor of the Prop 8 camp when parents of young children came out in force against gay marriage in the 11th hour of the campaign.) He found that stereotypes targeting gays and lesbians have resulted in terrible disadvantages for them and that the Prop 8 campaign traded on those stereotypes.
Good article by Lithwick, and I’m impressed at how extensively Judge Walker filleted the defense of Proposition 8.
More from Joe: Zack Ford has a post listing all 80 of those important Findings of Fact:
This is the series of 80 points Judge Walker used to organize the multitudes of information in the case. Note that these are not all the ideas that were presented in the case; these are the facts used in the decision.
These concise points address the information presented in trial amazingly. They are straight-forward and compelling. Here is, essentially, what everyone should learn from this trial.