Supreme Court blocks California judges order to televise Prop 8 case 

The Supreme Court has issued an interim order blocking the plans of a California judge to put a federal trial over California's controversial Proposition 8 on YouTube, which outlawed gay marriage in the golden state.

Whatever side you fall on in the gay marriage debate, it's hard to justify the procedural shenanigans judges in California have engaged in here. On December 22, and without prior notice, the presiding judge in the trial, Judges Vaughn Walker, tried to amend a longstanding California rules consistent with a generally accepted ban on televising federal trials. It's long been asserted that it's hard to get a fair trial while there's a concurrent attempt to turn things into a media circus.

This amending of the rules was supposedly part of a "pilot program" for televising trials instituted by the notoriously liberal ninth circuit court of appeals just a few days prior to his order. Further, the ninth circuit judge behind the "pilot program" is known for having some obvious pro-gay marriage sympathies.

Walker later took the December 22 order amending the rules to allow televising of the trial off his website, after it was pointed out the way he proposed amending the rules was likely illegal. Then on New Year's Eve Walker offered up a new order, this one allowing for public comment on the proposed change. However, the proposed public comment period was a mere five days -- it's pretty obvious Walker was merely trying to comply with the letter of the law rather than acting in good faith.

Today, the Supreme Court issued an interim order banning broadcasting of the trial. It's in effect through Wednesday, while court decides whether to make the ban permanent. More details here. And for more background on what's happening in California, see this backgrounder by Ed Whelan at National Review Online. Whelan's coverage of the matter has been definitive.

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Mark Hemingway

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