Prop 8 Trial Begins – Without Promised Video

Just as the trial of Proposition 8 was about to get underway in Judge Vaughn Walker’s courtroom in San Francisco this morning, the US Supreme Court delivered an injunction against the promised video feeds and rebroadcasts of the trial. Calitics emeritus blogger David Dayen was in Pasadena at a 9th Circuit courtroom when the news came down. The injunction, which Justice Steven Breyer objected to, lasts until midday Wednesday when the full court will hear arguments about whether the broadcasts will go forward as planned, be expanded, or be ended entirely.

Several bloggers were able to make it into the Burton Federal Courthouse in downtown San Francisco this morning where the trial is happening, including the Courage Campaign’s founder and chair, Rick Jacobs, who is liveblogging at the Prop 8 Trial Tracker, a website we at the Courage Campaign (where I work as Public Policy Director) set up to monitor and hold accountable the right-wing organizations that are trying to undermine the course of justice. Jacobs has described fascinating exchanges between Judge Walker and Ted Olson such as this:

The judge is probing extensively whether or not the problem would be solved if the state of California “got out of the marriage business.” He and Olson had a colloquy about whether domestic partnership for all would solve the problem. Olson had to have a note handed to him from his team to say that only opposite-sex couples over 62 can have domestic partnership. Judge Walker is very interested in seeing what change has occurred that should force the federal judiciary to enter the issue. He wants to know what evidence will show that makes the matter worthy of judgment. The judge is very, very smart. This is really, really fascinating. Olson is doing a great job in answering him. “What’s the evidence going to show that Prop. 8” intended to discriminate against gays and lesbians. Olson: no question that Prop. 8 intended to discriminate. We’ll put on evidence from the plaintiffs and others that show how they felt about the campaign, the sentiments that may have been used to motivate the voters.

At the outset of the trial, Judge Walker also made reference to the debate over the broadcast. He said that by 5PM last Friday, 138,542 comments were received in favor of broadcasting the trial – and only 32 were received opposing it. The Courage Campaign Institute and CREDO Mobile delivered a petition on Friday to Judge Walker with 138,248 signatures calling for the trial to be televised. It is a clear sign that the people want this case tried in full public view, and reject entirely the self-serving arguments of the anti-equality forces, people who are afraid to let the public know their bigoted motives for putting Prop 8 on the ballot.

No matter what happens at the SCOTUS this week, the Courage Campaign will continue to track this trial and the right-wing reaction to it.

UPDATE:We could also use your help in keeping this going. Maintaining the liveblog isn’t free – if you can contribute $25, $50, $100 or more to the Courage Campaign Institute, we can continue to maintain the site as the trial unfolds. Thanks.