That case—in which Judge James Ware supported gay-marriage proponents’ efforts to overturn a same-sex marriage ban in California—is still on appeal.
Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr. of American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) believes Prop 8 supporters fought to ensure the tapes weren’t released because they didn’t want their hateful language or identities revealed.
“It speaks volumes that the proponents of Proposition 8 are so insistent about concealing the videotaped record of this historic trial. They know the videotape would expose their baseless campaign of fear and let the public see the powerful evidence we submitted showing that Proposition 8 flatly violates the United States Constitution. That’s why they fought so hard to keep the tapes secret.”
Last September, Judge Ware ruled that they should be released, emphasizing that “Transparency is pivotal to public perception of the judiciary’s legitimacy and independence. But in its ruling, the Ninth Court reiterated that Judge Vaughn Walker, who presided over Perry v. Schwarzenegger, had told the litigants the tapes would remain sealed.
“The integrity of our judicial system depends in no small part on the ability of litigants and members of the public to rely on a judge’s word,” said the Ninth Court in its ruling today.
Anti-marriage-equality forces are pretty pleased with their minor victory: “To rule otherwise would severely undermine the public’s confidence in the federal courts by breaching the bond of trust between the people and their justice system,” said Austin Nimocks of the pro-Prop 8 Alliance Defense Fund told the San Fransisco Chronicle.