Nope, No Live Feed/YouTube for Prop 8 Trial, Say the Supremes

In a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court backed the defendants in Perry v. Schwarzenegger and granted their request to keep cameras out of the courtroom. The unsigned decision applies only to the satellite feeds that were going to be made available in five cities, but it’s far reaching enough to assume the YouTube delayed videos are also off the table. “The Court, chastizing the trial court for attempting “to change its rules at the eleventh hour,” issued an unsigned 17-page opinion. The ruling came out nearly 40 minutes after an earlier temporary order blocking TV had technically expired.”

And based on the Court’s explanation, they’re issuing the ruling based on a technicality: “We are asked to stay the broadcast of a federal trial. We resolve that question without expressing any view on whether such trials should be broadcast. We instead determine that the broadcast in this case should be stayed because it appears the courts below did not follow the appropriate procedures set forth in federal law before changing their rules to allow such broadcasting. Courts enforce the requirement of procedural regularity on oth- ers, and must follow those requirements themselves.”

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  • terrwill

    Gee what a suprise! and Gee it was 5-4, what another suprise……. :’-(

  • FakeName

    What a fetid load. SCOTUS blocked it because the comment period on the rule change was supposedly too short. Weren’t there like 133,000 comments, with all but a handful in favor? Did SCOTUS really think that those percentages were going to change given another couple of weeks? No, this is really about SCOTUS’s own reluctance to allow its proceedings to be recorded. SCOTUS is one of the most secretive bodies in the country and it will be damned if it will allow anything that might one day encroach on the secrecy in which it fetishistically enshrouds itself.

  • naghanenu


  • tjr101

    5-4 AGAIN…with Kennedy siding with the conservatives. Is this a harbinger?

  • B has more details, specifically,
    “The four justices in dissent were Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and John Paul Stevens. In a dissent written by Breyer, they said the high court should have stayed out of the issue. Breyer said ‘the public interest weighs in favor of providing access to the courts.'”

    One might note that Sonia Sotomayer is the one justice appointed so far by President Obama. Whether or not you feel that Obama is moving too slowly on gay-rights issues, removing the conservative bias of the U.S. Supreme Court by new appointments is critical to getting favorable rulings.

    The arguments against making videos of the trial public are all bogus – Judge Walker had specifically allowed any witness who felt uncomfortable to testify without a camera turned on. I.e., someone who is camera shy or stutters a lot when nervous can request not to be shown or heard on television. So the real
    motivation is to make sure the public is not exposed to a
    serious discussion regarding Proposition Eight – it would
    expose how the campaign to pass it really was motivated by bias.
    Maybe we should complain about “activist judges”, the ones in the majority on this ruling, as that is what the other side always does when there is a ruling they do not like.

    Finally, that guy Tam may not be off the hook even if he is allowed to withdraw as a defendant/intervener. It seems the plaintiff would like to call him as a (hostile) witness due to his rants being so obviously biased.

  • soul_erosion

    Have another bowl of ice cream, Maggie. Hopefully the clogged arteries aren’t too far away. Someday you’ll eat crow.

  • hyhybt

    Not a great surprise, but not necessarily a sign of things to come, either. Especially given, as FakeName suggested, that this could lead to pressure to broadcast their own cases.

    Besides, when would this land in the SC? How likely is it that there will be some turnover by then?

  • terrwill

    We should give somewhat sigh of relief about Sotomayor, there was concern she was a stealth conserative……….However if anyone thinks that we are going to see a change anytime soon…forget about it. Cause the only change that is in the forseeable future is JPS, who bless his heart is like 300 years old. And there is rumblings that he is ready to step down. Thus the imbalance will remain the same as far as anything that begins with the letter “G”. Scallia, UncleThomas, Alito, Roberts are all solidly against us and Kennedy is almost always in lockstep on the matter………….sigh………

  • tjr101

    This is precisely why I’ve had concern with this case at this point in time with the present composition of the SC. Hopefully Obama gets to replace at least one conservative during his tenure, but don’t hold your breath. Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts would be sure to keep themselves fit and in good health while a lefty is in the White House.

    As a NY’er there was little doubt in my mind about Sotomayor… she lived in the village and most likely saw openly gay couples everyday unless she stayed under a rock. To this day I keep wondering… why oh why did Sandra Day O’Connor retire?

  • Republican

    A 5-4 vote on this doesn’t mean jack when it comes to the main issue. This is about the Court’s own opinion on cameras in the court room and its anger at Kozinsi. (Yes, I said Kozinski, not Walker. Look into it. There is a bit of history here involving a few of Kozinski’s antics as Chief Judge of the 9th Circuit. There was a lot leading up to this bitch slap other than what you’ll find in the opinion of the Court. I am 100% sure of this. )

    As for gay marriage, the sky is not falling. Yes, we know where Scalia and Thomas stand on the issue. And we likely know where Roberts and Alito stand. (Though Roberts may be somewhat on our side.) But Kennedy is responsible for the only two pro-gay rights opinions the Court has ever authored, Lawrence v. Texas and Romer v. Evans. Don’t write him off. When push comes to shove, Kennedy will vote for gay marriage. He doesn’t want to be remembered as the justice who was the swing vote for bigotry. That’s the way his mind works. Count on it.

  • Tom


    Thanks, great post. I feel better. Although the 5-4 decision is not what we wanted, the facts of the trial are still available thru the internet and for those fortunate enough to be onsite at the courthouse. But for those of us not lucky enough to be local, maybe it’s time to get creative. Remember how some in Hollywood created “Prop 8: The Musical” after it passed? I say we hit them up for a sequel, based on this trial.

  • Totakikay

    I still believe SCOTUS will support marriage equality in the future. I agree with Republican. I am Democrat/Green Party supporter. But honestly, I never viewed marriage equality or Gay Rights issues as a “Rep v. Dem” or “Religious” issue. Because Gay Rights is Human Rights.

  • B

    No. 12 · Totakikay wrote, “But honestly, I never viewed marriage equality or Gay Rights issues as a ‘Rep v. Dem’ or ‘Religious’ issue. Because Gay Rights is Human Rights.” … you may not but the Karl Rove types did – that’s why the Republicans tried to (halfheartedly) push a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage. It was being done to get W. elected in 2004 with a goal of getting out the religious right wing vote.

  • romeo

    It occurred to me recently on this issue, that the Supremes may do something that no one anticipates, at least that I have seen, namely rule against “marriage” but require an equivalent, with all the rights and privileges as a federal law. That way they can more or less satisfy everybody. Not sure how I feel about that, but it occurred to me that it might happen.

  • Totakikay

    @No.14 Romeo,

    I see what you mean. I would feel upset if SCOTUS wanted to satisfy the discriminatory opposition to marriage equality. They shouldn’t be satisfied with their illegal actions under the law. And like many have said, “Separate is NEVER equal.” Marriage is the only remedy to solve this human rights issue.

    I have a question though: If SCOTUS were to legalize same-sex relationships as Marriage under the law, what will stop or prevent the discriminatory opposition from enacting a heteronormative-marriage ban into the United States Constitution? That’s a huge issue to have to deal with. The government can repeal it, but what will stop the constant abuse of the Constitution? It will probably never end. Who knows.

  • hyhybt

    Congress, mostly: there’s no way 2/3 of the current Congress would vote for such a thing, and not a chance of its makeup changing that far fast enough to outrun people’s getting used to the idea once it’s been legal a while.

  • FakeName

    Republican sez: But Kennedy is responsible for the only two pro-gay rights opinions the Court has ever authored, Lawrence v. Texas and Romer v. Evans.

    There have been a few other pro-gay decisions out of SCOTUS but usually they were couched in terms other than homosexuality. For example, in ONE, Inc. v. Olsen in 1958, the Court ruled that homosexual subject matter did not automatically make a magazine obscene, opening the mails to gay publications. But for the most part LGBTs have not been welcomed at the Court. Read Joyce Murdoch and Deb Price’s book Courting Justice. It was published in 2001 so it doesn’t include Lawrence but it’s still a valuable resource. In an appendix it lists case after gay case where cert was denied.

    Romeo sez: It occurred to me recently on this issue, that the Supremes may do something that no one anticipates, at least that I have seen, namely rule against “marriage” but require an equivalent, with all the rights and privileges as a federal law.

    I don’t believe under the particulars of this case that such an option is open to them. The question of whether LGBT couples don’t have the rights and privileges of married mixed-sex couples is not posed in the lawsuit. The question is whether under the federal Constitution a fundamental right may be taken away by state constitutional amendment. Ordering a national civil union registry and requiring that it be accorded all marriage rights is beyond the scope of the case and I believe beyond the Constitutional power of the judiciary. Even if it weren’t, there’s no way that a majority would engage in this sort of “judicial activism”.

  • Chuck Martens

    The best possible outcome would be for the SC to eventually rule that government has no role in “marriage” – that it’s a religious sacrament, and rule all marriages void! The government should be in the business of granting rights through a license – call it whatever you want. If you want to get “married” – you’d go to a church. The churches that don’t believe in same-sex marriage would not be required to do so, but there would be plenty of churches that would.

  • Republican

    To those who are worried about a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage if the SCOTUS rules for equality, there are two ways for the other side to pass such an amendment.

    One way is for the Congress to approve it by two-thirds majority. The amendment is then sent to the states where three-fourths of the states must approve it. This is the method the bigots would most likely try to use. However, there is another way, though it has never been used. The states themselves can call for a Constitutional Convention. (Requires two-thirds of the state legislatures to call such a convention.) Any proposed amendments that come out of such a convention would have to bee approved by three-fourths of the states. If the bigots were smart, they’d try this route, as there is no way in heck Congress (regardless of who is in the majority at the time) will vote by such a huge margin for a discriminatory amendment. It’s one thing to bluster and make hot air about it when you know you don’t have the votes. (Like the republicans did a few years ago.) It’s quite another to actually pass such an abomination.

  • Attmay

    Is anyone else outraged by the infringement on the freedom of the press?

  • Republican

    And for what it’s worth, I take a slightly different approach to this issue. I do think the bigots will be less likely to say extreme stuff if they know it’s going to be on youtube. Yes, there will be transcripts and reports, but not near as many people read those as look at youtube.

    Now, some of you may say, that’s great and laugh at the scared bigots who refuse to show up or who lie on the stand. But I think it’s far wiser to be building a record that shows just the kind of nutty thinking that was behind Prop 8. Why? Because when the appellate courts (especially SCOTUS) look at this on review, they’re going to be looking for signs of animus. And the more hateful and insane comments from the pro-8 witnesses you have, the easier it is to make that case.

    I, too, wish people in general understood just how crazy some of these people are, but my desire to see that wish come true does not outweigh my desire to win this case.

  • Republican

    And, of course, I think it’s smart to not let the other side portray itself as a victim that is getting harassed for its “opinion”. Yeah, we all know how silly that claim is, but people do fall for it. Better to give the bigots the perfect trial before smacking them down hard in an opinion.

    Now, what I do find odd is the concern over video being displayed in other courtrooms in the 9th Circuit. I understand the Court’s ultimate decision on the matter, because it’s part of its objection to proper procedure not being followed, but I don’t understand why the Pro-8 people care about it. Do they think people will sneak in cameras and tape those broadcasts?

  • naghanenu

    I really dont see what the big deal is televising this trial. I want to watch it, everyone wants to watch it. Whatever their reason i doubt it will affect the outcome though.

    I just wish i knew who was winning? Or is it too early to surmise? Both sides are passionate about this case.

  • hyhybt

    @naghanenu: FAR too early. The defense hasn’t even begun yet.

    @Republican: Have there ever been even serious attempts to call a Constitutional Convention? If there have, did any of them get anywhere remotely close to passing 2/3 of the states? My understanding is that there are two very good reasons it’s never been done: it’s always going to be more difficult than getting 2/3 of Congress to go for the idea (unless maybe it’s something only beneficial to low-population states), and the last time we had a convention to amend the constitution, they drew up a new one instead.

    @Chuck Martens: How would that be better than simply allowing gay couples to participate in civil marriage? It wouldn’t. And while I don’t think a Supreme Court justice has ever been lynched, but dissolving millions of marriages at once and stopping those who aren’t religious from ever obtaining another one under the name that has always been used for such things would be a good way to become the first.

  • PopSnap

    You’re having a laugh if you think people would try to get a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage passed in this day and age. the nation is almost split right down the middle on this issue; for there to be an amendment there’d have to be at least 70-30 approval nationwide for it to even be CONSIDERED.

    And a constitutional convention, you mean like the last one they had in the late-1700’s where our first constitution was drawn up? They’d seriously have such an extreme event to prevent gays from getting married? Who would support it like 20 Congresspeople? LOL.

  • PopSnap

    Allow me to clarify what I meant by “70-30 approval”; I meant 70% approval in favor of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. They could barely even get half approval for that in 2004.

  • jason

    Scalia is a disgrace. The man worships the Vatican, ignoring the rights of good gay American citizens.

  • B

    No. 24 · PopSnap wrote, “And a constitutional convention, you mean like the last one they had in the late-1700’s where our first constitution was drawn up?”

    See which is fairly short:

    “The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.”

    What this means is that, if the legislatures of 2/3 of the states agree (by a simple majority vote) they can call a convention for proposing amendments. What the convention actually does is a different question (it could go off on its own and do anything it wants), and then any amendment has to be approved by 3/4 of the states.

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