Paging Rose Mary Woods

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Yesterday's 5-4 Supreme Court ruling on broadcasting the trial was a big win for backers of Prop. 8. Not only did the high court block video of the proceedings, the justices also bought into defense arguments that putting the trial on the Internet could do "irreparable harm" to their witnesses by opening them up to harassment. In their unsigned ruling (PDF), the Supremes also threw a brushback pitch at U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker, who's overseeing the trial. They criticized his changing the rules at the 11th hour by approving the broadcast. Attorneys for the two gay and lesbian couples say no big deal -- the order has nothing to do with the merits of Prop. 8. Maybe, maybe not. Legal eagles Boies and Olson know they have to win over at least one of the five conservative-moderate justices in Wednesday's majority to prevail in a Prop. 8 appeal. So the decision had to be a sobering reminder of the odds they face.

Rose Mary Woods

Rose Mary Woods demonstrating how she may have erased a section of the "Watergate tapes" (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration)

And just to make sure that these tapes never see the light of day, Prop. 8's attorneys today sent Judge Walker a letter asking that all further recordings be stopped and that existing tapes be deleted. Just before court adjourned for a break this morning, defense attorney Charles Cooper reiterated his request that the court stop recording the proceedings in light of yesterday's Supreme Court ruling. Judge Walker -- seemingly annoyed with Cooper -- sternly said the recordings would continue, not for broadcast, but for his own use in chambers after the trial. The judge said the tapes would be helpful to him in writing his decision. That also would seem to answer the other request by Prop. 8 attorneys to erase the existing tapes. Sounds like that's not gonna happen.

So who's Rose Mary Woods, you may ask? Learn more about her in this obituary from NPR.

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