U.S. Supreme Court Blocks Video of Prop 8 Trial Indefinitely

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In a 5-4 decision today, the nation's high court ruled to block video coverage of the trial challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8 and California's ban on same-sex marriage, the Associated Press reported.

Judge Vaughn Walker, the presiding judge in the case, said that he would allow delayed footage of the proceedings to be posted on YouTube, but on the first day of the trial, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily halted the planned webcast so it could more closely examine the issue.

What's unclear is if the court is banning cameras entirely, or if it will continue to  allow video of the proceedings to be fed into the overflow viewing room at the San Francisco federal courthouse. Update, 4:40pm: Video of the hearings is still available in the San Francisco courthouse hearing the case. According to the the court's opinion [pdf], streaming of the trial to other federal courthouses is banned, but the court has yet to rule on whether it will allow the hearings to be made available on the Web at some point. The opinion states:

"The question whether courtroom proceedings should be
broadcast has prompted considerable national debate.
Reasonable minds differ on the proper resolution of that
debate and on the restrictions, circumstances, and proce-
dures under which such broadcasts should occur.  We do
not here express any views on the propriety of broadcast-
ing court proceedings generally.
Instead, our review is confined to a narrow legal issue:
whether the District Court’s amendment of its local rules
to broadcast this trial complied with federal law.  We
conclude that it likely did not and that applicants have
demonstrated that irreparable harm would likely result
from the District Court’s actions.  We therefore stay the
court’s January 7, 2010, order to the extent that it permits
the live streaming of court proceedings to other federal
courthouses. We do not address other aspects of that
order, such as those related to the broadcast of court pro-
ceedings on the Internet, as this may be premature."

Scott Shafer will have more about the Supreme Court's decision on KQED Radio News this afternoon at 5:30pm. Update, 6:15pm: Scott's report can now be heard online. Listen below or on the program's web site.

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  • http://prop8trialtracker.com/ Jim

    The Prop-8 supporters are hiding behind a white sheet here. They are the ones that don’t want this broadcast. What does this say about their arguments? If people see rational argument on the issue rather than information they can control in short sound bites and fear-mongering commercials, maybe they will change their opinion? For those who want a fairly accurate transcript it is being put up at this site: http://prop8trialtracker.com/