SCOTUS Blocks Proposition 8 Trial YouTubes . . . For Now


The U.S. Supreme Court issued an order this morning blocking the recording of the trial challenging Proposition 8, set to begin in a SanFrancisco courtroom today, until it has a chance to consider the issue.  The hold on video being placed on YouTube is until Wednesday. Supporters of Proposition 8 had challenged the broadcasting of the trial, suggesting that witnesses and counsel could face intimidation from same-sex marriage backers. The high-profile trial got the full media treatment this weekend, with stories about the trial in the New Yorker and Newsweek.

Veteran Supreme Court reporter Lyle Denniston, at SCOTUSblog, says the order also means there will be no broadcasts of the trial into courthouses beyond the federal courthouse in San Francisco.  But he says the decision to review the question does not necessarily spell doom for broadcasting the trial.

The order not only blocks the trial judge’s original order permitting delayed broadcast of the trial proceedings, but also ”any additional order permitting broadcast of the proceedings,” pending further action by the Justices.   In his brief dissent, Justice Breyer said he was not persuaded that the supporters of Prop. 8, who sought to block any televising of the trial, would suffer harm from such broacasts.

The fact that the Court will take more time to consider the issue is an indication that the broadcasting may yet be allowed.  But the mere fact that it has imposed even a temporary delay would not appear to be an encouraging sign for the prospect that the video will be seen outside the courthouse.

Ed Whelan at the National Review’s Bench Memos, who has called the legal challenge a “show trial,”  has the full text of the order. While there is no broadcasting of the first days of the trial–and tweeps have been blocked from accessing the trial outside of the trial–live tweeting of the trial is being done by @TheAdvocateMag @AmerEqualRights and @ACLU_norcal.

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