Three Questions for Legendary Lawyer David Boies
Boies heads to the Bedford Playhouse for a Q&A following a screening of a new documentary, The Case Against 8.
Legendary lawyer and Armonk resident David Boies has been making headlines for the past few decades. The 77-year-old chairman of Boies, Schiller & Flexner helmed such landmark cases as Bush v. Gore, United States v. Microsoft, and Hollingsworth v. Perry, the 2009 case that made same-sex marriage legal in the state of California. It is the last of these that is bringing Boies to the Bedford Playhouse on March 31, when he will answer questions following a screening of the documentary The Case Against 8, which chronicles the challenge to a gay-marriage ban in California courts. We caught up with Boies, who discussed the gravity of the case prior to his Bedford appearance.
How did you first get involved with the Bedford Playhouse?
I have been following the renovation of the Bedford Playhouse, and my wife [high-profile corporate attorney and US government counsel Mary McInnis Boies] and I made some small contributions to it, so we were very excited to see it open. This program that they have, bringing things like The Case Against 8 to the theater, is, I think, a great program for the community, and I was particularly happy to participate in it.
Why do you think this fight against Proposition 8 was so consequential?
I think this was probably the most important civil rights case of the last couple of decades. When the case started in 2009, it was subject to a lot of criticism both on the left and the right — with the right opposing it and the left saying it was too soon.… There is a lot of discrimination in this country that continues on all sorts of bases: racial, gender, religious, ethnic — but the discrimination against gay and lesbian citizens was the only discrimination that was widely supported not just by social convention but by the rule of law…. I think that the case to establish marriage equality was a critical step in trying to fulfill the promise that our founders made in words, although not in deeds, of bringing equality to all citizens.
How do you think the case echoes today, with headlines such as the recent military transgender ban?
I think the case against [Proposition] 8 is a very important milestone, but as the current fight over transgender rights indicates, the forces of reaction are not simply going to go away. This is a battle that we are going to have to continue to fight, just as the battle for racial civil rights went on for many years after Brown v. Board of Education and, in some ways, is still going on. So this is not something where we can relax and say the battle is over with.… I think that the battle for human rights and civil rights has to be a battle that goes on not only in the courts but also in the legislature and voting booths. We need to elect people who will appoint judges who uphold the law and not try to erode it.