Monday, January 4, 2010

Public access and the Federal Case against Prop 8

So, you remember, the Prop8 federal case, Perry v. Schwarzeneggar, right? Part of this case turns on whether the Bad Guys were motivated by animus against GLBT people. The judge ruled they had to release their emails.

Then a group of 3 judges ruled they didn't have to.

Now it appears that THAT decision will be reviewed en banc, by a larger group of the Ninth District Appeals Court.

Then there's the matter of whether it will be televised. First it was yes, but now the bad guys are suing to keep it quiet. Seems their witnesses are unwilling to be public.
In a letter to Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, lawyers defending Proposition 8 argued that allowing cameras in the federal court trial would violate federal rules and expose their side to threats, intimidation and harassment from gay marriage advocates.

The letter warns the judge that some witnesses for the Proposition 8 defense "have indicated they will not be willing to testify at all if the trial is broadcast or webcast beyond the courthouse."
Hmmmm.....something to be ashamed of? Or just afraid of marauding bands of tasteful homosexuals?

Honestly these people are their own parody.

More on this from LGBTPOV blog, including the response from the plaintiffs (=the good guys), who support full transparency and thus support televising the proceedings:
More than 13 million Californians cast a vote for or against Prop. 8. And there are hundreds of thousands of gay and lesbian Californians who have a direct stake in the outcome of this case. Ultimately, however, the issues in this case are of such transcendent importance that every Californian should be afforded an opportunity to view the proceedings to the greatest extent practicable. .....The “ability to see and to hear a proceeding as i[t] unfolds is a vital component of the First Amendment right of access.” ABC, Inc. v. Stewart, 360 F.3d 90, 99 (2d Cir. 2004).

Proponents’ concerns about “the possibility of compromised safety, witness intimidation, and/or harassment of trial participants” (Doc # 324 at 6) are utterly unsubstantiated and groundless speculation. Indeed, Proponents willingly thrust themselves into the public eye by sponsoring Prop. 8 and orchestrating an expensive, sophisticated, and highly public multimedia campaign to amend the California Constitution. They certainly did not exhibit a similar fear of public attention when attempting to garner votes for Prop. 8 from millions of California voters, when touting their successful campaign strategy in post-election magazine articles and public appearances.....
As I've said before, Mother's advice was sound: if you are afraid to be known for what you did, that's a good measure that maybe YA SHOULDN'T HAVE DONE IT.

Update: The Judge is seeking public comment about televising the trial. Speak out for open access!

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