Showing an abundance of caution, the United States Supreme Court has ruled to protect the proceedings of the Proposition 8 discrimination trial in San Francisco, blocking efforts by the trial judge, U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn to allow cameras into a
California federal courtroom for the first time.
Less than four weeks ago, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that it was time to begin a pilot project exploring the benefits of broadcasting federal civil trials. It is somewhat remarkable that the long-protected privacy of California federal courtrooms would become negotiable just weeks before the start of the Proposition 8 discrimination trial. The Ninth Circuit’s “pilot project” immediately opened the door for Federal Judge Vaughn Walker to take extraordinary legal steps, on New Year’s Eve no less, to extend the project to include the discrimination suit against Protect Marriage. With every day, the prosecution of Protect Marriage seems to be led, not just by formidable constitutional attorneys David Boies and Ted Olson, but by Judge Walker as well. An outraged National Review Online columnist, Ed Whelan, notes that by waiting until New Year’s Eve to make procedural moves to broadcast the Proposition 8 discrimination trial, Judge Walker essentially precluded the public from having any opportunity to oppose it. In a letter written directly to the Judge, Whelan publicly challenges the motives behind the move: