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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 10, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 06
Lawyer who defended Prop 8 likely pick for solicitor general spot
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Lawyer who defended Prop 8 likely pick for solicitor general spot

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The lawyer who defended anti-equality Prop 8 on behalf of the Protect Marriage organization is expected to Donald Trump's pick for solicitor general of the United States.

Chuck Cooper is considered the likely nominee because he is a longtime friend of newly confirmed Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Cooper, from Alabama like Sessions, is reported to have helped prepare Sessions for his Senate confirmation hearing.

In gratitude, Sessions is said to want Cooper for the job and a 'source close to the White House' says that Trump has agreed to let Sessions pick his own man for solicitor general, Yahoo News reported.

As solicitor general he would be the country's top trial lawyer, charged with defending laws passed by the Republican-controlled Congress and - significantly - Trump's executive orders.

In 2013, Cooper unsuccessfully argued that his clients - the group that put the repeal of same-sex marriage on the California ballot - should be able to defend the law in court when the State of California refused to do so.

In a 5-to-4 decision, the Supreme Court dismissed Cooper's appeal, saying that Protect Marriage had no standing to intervene in the case. Same-sex marriages were then allowed to resume in California two years before the high court legalized them nationwide in its Obergefell decision.

The 2013 Prop 8 case was not Cooper's only Supreme Court appearance for an anti-LGBT cause. In 1986, working as a lawyer in Ronald Reagan's Office of Legal Counsel, Cooper argued that the federal government could reject job applicants with AIDS out of fear of contagion.

In a 7-to-2 decision the Supreme Court rejected the government's arguments, ruling that individuals with AIDS are protected under laws applying to disabled individuals.

Cooper has also argued in favor of giving federal tax breaks to religious schools that discriminate on the basis of race. In 1983, however, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government may, indeed, revoke the tax-exempt status of religious schools for racial discrimination.

Cooper says that since his work on the Prop 8 case his position on same-sex marriage 'has evolved.' The evolution may be due to his Lesbian daughter, who married her partner in 2014. Cooper reportedly helped plan the wedding.

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