on the case

Video: Prop 8 Lawyers Olson & Boies Explain Just What the Hell They’re Thinking

What does it take to spark a social movement? Those starry-eyed libertarians at the Cato Institute hosted a delightful forum last week with Ted Olson and David Boies, the lawyers seeking to overturn Prop 8, and the video of their talk just popped up on the website.

It’s long — an hour and a half, good grief — but if you watch it in little chunks it’s quite digestible.


  • a comparison of the Stonewall uprising (when people refused to move) and the Freedom Riders (when people refused to stay put)
  • a delicate reference to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “recent notoriety”
  • Ted Olson handily summing up the entire trial in under 15 minutes
  • “Fourteen times the U.S. Supreme Court has announced that there is a fundamental right under the Constitution to marry”
  • Prop 8 proponents claimed that their own “expert witnesses” were not really experts when Ted Olson and David Boies got them to admit that “depriving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry seriously harms them and their children”
  • A dignified woman asking a technical question about sodomy
  • A frustrated libertarian fulminating about Congress making laws limiting free speech in spite of the First Amendment
  • At last, an explanation of why gay marriage isn’t the same thing as incest
  • Ted Olson refusing to predict who will eventually win the case, but “I’d rather be on this side than that one.”

And a smattering of nerdy lawyer jokes.