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This is a case of reading the tea leaves, but judging by today’s hearing on Prop 8, the California Supreme Court appears to be skeptical to the idea that proponents don;’t have standing to defend the initiative.

During the oral arguments, Ted Olson, representing opponents of Prop 8, was peppered with questions, including Jusitce Ming Chin, who said, “I just want to have the best arguments on both sides given to the court so we can make the best decision possible. But when you have one side not represented it seems to me the right is illusory.”

If the state Supreme Court rules that ProtectMarriage does have standing, then the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will take their decision under advisement and decide the procedural issue on their own. If they follow suit, it means that the case proceeds on the weightier constitutional issues.

The ballot proposition is being challenged by the American Foundation for Equal Rights, and organization of entertainment and political activists.

The standing issue arose last year, after U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled Prop 8 unconstitutional. But then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown refused to appeal, leaving that to the initiative’s proponents.

“It is the Attorney General who has the exclusive authority to make litigation decisions on behalf of the State, and here the Attorney General has made the sound decision that the discriminatory provisions of Proposition 8 do not warrant defense on appeal,” Olson said in a statement. ” Proponents cannot second-guess that exercise of discretion.”