Leave it to Northern District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker to tangle with an issue that is ripping the federal judiciary apart.I wouldn't be surprised if a broadcast of the trial does occur, that it would be a ratings success given the high impact of this case. However, the national Judicial Conference advises against cameras for district courts, and Judge Walker's Ninth district usually goes by this rule-of-thumb. He'll need permission from the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council, but Legal Pad says they may go for it.
After a hearing last month in the challenge to Prop. 8, Walker summoned the parties into his chambers for a little chat — out of the press’s earshot. Turns out Walker wanted to float the idea of broadcasting the January trial, but not just to an overflow room in the federal building. He wanted to know how the lawyers felt about making the trial available for broadcast on a television station, according to a letter filed in the case.
Walker has a history of being unorthodox. This case alone has had many twists and turns and the fact that there's a trial at all to possibly broadcast is a first for a marriage case.
The Olson/Boies legal team arguing against Prop 8 has no problem with it. However, the Yes on Prop 8 attorney, Charles Cooper, does.
“Given the highly contentious and politicized nature of Proposition 8 and the issue of same-sex marriage in general, the possibility of compromised safety, witness intimidation, and/or harassment of trial participants is very real,” wrote attorney Charles Cooper.
Well, this comes as no surprise. Since many witnesses will be brought to trial to testify that the Yes on Prop 8 campaign was motivated purely by animus towards the LGBT population, and with the recent ruling from Walker allowing internal documents of the campaign may be used as evidence against them as well, it ain't going to look pretty for the defense.
And if the Olson/Boies team can show with expert testimony that being gay and lesbian is not a choice and that the Yes on 8 crowd acted simply out of animus and not with the intent to simply "protect traditional marriage" (an argument they didn't state in the campaign but somehow are stating it now in court), the public will be watching the whole time and may be convinced of the plaintiffs' argument.
There's no doubt that will have a major effect on any future conservative hope to continually strip LGBT rights away at the ballot box across the country.
If you had dirty laundry, would you want it broadcasted?