For renowned Washington attorney Ted Olson, mounting the legal battle against Proposition 8, the California initiative banning same-sex marriage, doesn’t just mark a high point in his 45-year career — during which he has argued nearly 60 times before the Supreme Court, and cemented George W. Bush’s victory in the 2000 presidential election.
“This has been the highlight of my life,” Olson said last week at the annual networking dinner hosted by Gibson Dunn & Crutcher for Georgetown Law’s LGBT student group, Outlaw. “This is the most important thing we’ve done in our lives. It’s not just become a legal challenge, but it’s about the hearts and minds of a country changing.”
The dinner and panel discussion, held at the law firm’s downtown office, drew more than 60 attorneys and law students including Georgetown University Law Dean William Treanor and Marriott vice president and assistant general counsel Ward Cooper.
Olson, lead co-counsel for the plaintiffs challenging Prop. 8, joined two other Washington partners, Matthew McGill and Amir Tayrani, in recounting the emotional 12-day trial in San Francisco federal court that culminated in Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling declaring Prop. 8 unconstitutional. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the decision, but the issue may soon land before the Supreme Court.