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The Prop 8 Revolution Will Be Televised (And Why It Will Be a Blast for Everyone)


Vaughn Walker, the federal judge overseeing the Prop 8 trial Perry V. Schwarzenegger, will likely preside over the 9th Circuit’s first televised trial, thanks to a decision by the Judicial Council of the 9th Circuit to allow cameras in the courtroom. Which means that when Ted Olson and David Boies face down against Protect Marriage’s Charles Cooper on January 11, we might just have a live feed. (UPDATE: Or not. See below.) This is awesome. Allow us to explain.

It’s a first! “The 9th Circuit currently allows cameras to televise appellate arguments, as does the 2nd Circuit,” reports “A private vendor has also recorded a handful of district court proceedings in New York. But under the 9th Circuit’s new experimental program — in which only civil, nonjury trials would qualify — district courts would be likely to use their own camera equipment.” This means we’re in uncharted territory, which is perfect for a case that’s in uncharted territory.

Ted Olson and David Boies are performers. Well, Olsen a little bit more so. Both have seen plenty of face time with the U.S. Supreme Court’s justices, and they know how to put on a great show. Except until now, their best shows have been relegated to transcripts and first-person reports, since cameras aren’t allowed in. No, these guys won’t be performing acrobatics, but their sharp wit is about as enthralling as real-life courtroom drama gets.

Protect Marriage’s Charles Cooper is prone to gaffes. Okay, maybe just small ones, but we have a feeling where this is going: Cooper’s briefcase will rip open and private papers will fly through the air. He’ll spill his water glass as Walker makes a grand pronouncement. He’ll wear mismatching socks, and be torn up by the fashion press. Alright, we’re stretching.

Vaughn Walker is serious. And fun! The maybe-gay judge overseeing this trial is not short on diabolical statements. Nor is he afraid of pissing off Prop 8’s supporters — or their opponents. He will frustrate both sides throughout the trial, and we want Camera 2 squarely trained on his brows to see how many times they raise and lower per minute.

UPDATE: The new rules, which take effect just as Perry goes to trial, may provide only short-circuit camera feeds, and not live television broadcasts.

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