Prop 8 Whiners Whining Again

Jun 2009
Prop. 8 backers want trial videos withheld

Same-sex marriage foes accusing a federal judge of illegally showing courtroom videos drew a sharp retort Friday from gay-rights advocates, who said their legal adversaries are trying to hide the record of a trial they lost.

Backers of Proposition 8 want to "forever conceal from the American people ... the actual compelling evidence which demonstrated the unconstitutionality" of the 2008 ballot measure, which banned same-sex marriage in California, lawyers for two couples told the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

They asked the court to exonerate former Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker and let the public see the videos of the 12-day trial he conducted in January 2010. The same court is reviewing Walker's ruling in August that found Prop. 8 unconstitutional.

On Wednesday, Prop. 8's sponsors told the court that Walker violated court rules and defied a U.S. Supreme Court decision by playing a three-minute excerpt of the videos in a Feb. 18 speech at Arizona State University, 10 days before he retired from the bench.

The excerpt showed a witness for Prop. 8's sponsors, political science Professor Kenneth Miller, being questioned about laws that discriminated against gays and lesbians. Walker used the video in a talk advocating cameras in the court.

The sponsors asked the court to retrieve the videos from Walker and from lawyers for the couples, who are plaintiffs in the case.

Walker, who now heads a San Francisco law office specializing in mediation, sent a letter to the court Thursday noting that the trial had been a public event but saying he would comply with any court order to dispose of the videos.

Federal court rules prohibit televising trials, but the Ninth Circuit established a pilot program in December 2009 allowing cameras in nonjury civil trials. Walker then approved telecasting the Prop. 8 trial on closed-circuit to other federal courts, and taping the proceedings for Internet posting on YouTube.

But the Supreme Court intervened at the request of Prop. 8's sponsors, a group called Protect Marriage, which said cameras would intimidate its witnesses.

The judge continued videotaping the trial, over the objections of Protect Marriage, and made the videos available to both sides for closing arguments. He told the appeals court Thursday he had asked his staff to download the recordings for his records when he left office, and has played brief excerpts in two speeches and a lecture to his UC Berkeley law class.

Lawyers for Protect Marriage said the Arizona speech, later telecast on C-SPAN, violated both the Supreme Court's decree and Walker's mid-trial promise that he would use the videos to help him prepare his ruling, and not for public broadcasting.

In Friday's filing, the couples' lawyers said Walker had not violated the Supreme Court's order, which barred only televising during the trial, and that he is using the videos to educate the public about the legal system.

"Public trials are a cornerstone of our democracy," plaintiffs' lawyer Theodore Olson told the appeals court. "There was no reason to keep the video of this trial under the cover of darkness in the first place."

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Oct 2010
The proponents of Prop h8 don't have a leg to stand on, since the intimidation of witnesses is a moot issue post trial as their testimony is now a matter of public record. In Hollingsworth v Perry the court avoided addressing the question of a delayed broadcast on the internet, even though Walker stated that as his intent.

Also, what Walker did at the Arizona speech has been accepted practice for a long time.
Feb 2007
Los Angeles
The proponents of Prop h8 don't have a leg to stand on, since the intimidation of witnesses is a moot issue post trial since their testimony is now a matter of public record. In Hollingsworth v Perry the court avoided addressing the question of a delayed broadcast on the internet, even though Walker stated that as his intent.

Also, what Walker did at the Arizona speech has been accepted practice for a long time.

Homosexual ex-Judge Walker lied to the court and broke his word.

No surprise from a spineless weasel who should have recused himself from the outset

The facts:

Due to our overriding concern for the safety of our witnesses who were to appear on the stand, we successfully petitioned the United States Supreme Court to prohibit the videotaping. The Supreme Court granted our request the very morning of the trial’s start, but Judge Walker kept the cameras rolling nevertheless. He made a solemn promise in open court that the tapes would remain under court-ordered seal, and be used by him only in his private chambers to assist him in his decision on the case. However, as the cameras continued to roll, several of our witnesses refused to take the stand for fear of their personal safety at the hands of same-sex marriage supporters who had engaged in threatening behavior during and after the Prop 8 campaign.

When Walker recently retired from the bench, he collected among his exiting “judicial papers” a copy of the trial videotape. He then used excerpts from the videotape in February while giving a lecture at the University of Arizona. The lecture was carried and broadcast by C-SPAN to a national audience several times and is still viewable on the C-SPAN website.

When our legal team learned about this transgression, we filed a motion with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to require Walker, as well as the plaintiffs’ attorneys and the City of San Francisco (a party to the lawsuit), to turn over any copies back to the Court’s sealed records (click here to read our motion in full).

A few excerpts from the motion clearly paint the picture of this most egregious behavior by a former federal judge (legal citations omitted):

By publicly displaying the video recording of a portion of the trial testimony, Judge Walker (1) violated his own order placing the video recording of the trial under seal; (2) ignored the clear terms of the district court’s Local Rule 77-3, which prohibits the broadcast or other transmission of trial proceedings beyond “the confines of the courthouse”; (3) contravened the longstanding policies of the Judicial Conference of the United States and the Judicial Council of this Court prohibiting public broadcast of trial proceedings; and (4) defied the United States Supreme Court’s prior decision in this case ruling that an earlier attempt by then-Chief Judge Walker to publicly broadcast the trial proceedings “complied neither with existing rules or policies nor the required procedures for amending them.” Thus, Judge Walker “‘engaged in conduct prejudicial to the effective and expeditious administration of the business of the courts.’”

But even more regrettable, perhaps, than all of this is the fact that Judge Walker’s use of the trial recording repudiated his own solemn commitment to Proponents in open court that, despite Proponents’ objection, the trial was being video recorded “simply for [his] use in chambers,” because it “would be quite helpful to [him] in preparing the findings of fact.” In reliance on this assurance, Proponents took no action to prevent the recording of the trial. One of Proponents’ expert witnesses also relied on this assurance, deciding to testify after then-Chief Judge Walker had made clear that the trial recording would not be broadcast. Now a portion of his testimony has appeared on national television, and he regrets his decision to trust this assurance.

What’s done is done. Judge Walker’s speech, and C-SPAN’s public dissemination of it, cannot be undone, and given that Judge Walker has recently retired from the federal bench, he cannot be disciplined. But he can be ordered to cease further unlawful and improper disclosures of the trial recordings, or any portion thereof, and to return to this Court any copies of the trial recordings in his possession, custody, or control. We respectfully request that he be ordered to do so. We also request that Appellees be ordered to return their copies of the trial recordings, which were provided to them by then-Chief Judge Walker for their use in closing argument below and in the appeal to this Court.

Responding to our motion, former judge Walker has submitted a letter to the Ninth Circuit defending his use of the trial videotape, saying that contrary to the Supreme Court’s directive, his former District Court rules, and his very own pledge to keep the videotape under court seal, he “decided….that it would be permissible and appropriate” to broadcast the trial proceedings in a public forum. He goes on to alert the Court of his plans to use the tape in the future, as well.

Before and during the trial, this former federal judge demonstrated no boundaries for the lengths he would go to arrive at his “decisions.” Even now, in post-trial and post-judicial life, he continues to believe he is above the law!
Oct 2010
One really has to wonder what the bigots are afraid of, since everyone now knows who they are. Maybe they realize that their humiliation on the witness stand will work against them in the video, providing a lasting record of ignorant bigotry.

Too bad we don't have a video record of Judge Bazile's Virginia v Loving trial.
Jun 2008
Northern California
A desperate attempt by desperate bigots who lost and can't deal with it.

We have heard it all before. Nothing new here...and this suit will go nowhere.

Oct 2010
With God....of course!
*** It behooves those who are bigots to destroy forever any video and proof-milestone achieved by civil rights in this case. More on, it would prove just how moronic the bigots were on the stand.

After all, with the bigots noses and faces pressed up against the glass, they had to be mightly disappointed to learn that their star witnesses replied to any and all key questions that should have earned them victory, with: " have no evidence.....I didn't know we have no proof of that..."

To continually have to dredge that scene up for all of history, time and time again, would surely keep them huddled in the corner of the basement. This way, without the video, they can continue to deny it ever happened the way they didn't want it to.

I'll bet there are losers in the basement right now who are screaming that they did, in fact, come out on top of all of this.