No TV Coverage of Prop 8 Closing Arguments

Mn-walker16_phb3_0500354932 Now it is for real: U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker issued an order this evening denying a media coalition’s request that cameras be allowed to cover the closing arguments in the Prop 8 trial on June 16.

“The Court removed the case from the Ninth Circuit pilot project on audio video recording and transmission on January 15, 2010. No further request to include the case in the pilot program is contemplated,” Walker wrote.

Even though it is rare for federal courts in the western states to allow cameras, a coalition of media orgs, including ABC, CBS and NBC, had requested that they be allowed to show the closing arguments as part of a pilot program to provide video coverage of certain non jury civil cases.

Before the trial started in January, Walker had agreed to allow video to be simulcast to a handful of courtrooms across the country, and made plans for footage to be shown online. But Prop 8 supporters objected, and took the question all the way to the Supreme Court, which put a stop of Walker’s plans.

The media coalition argued that the issues raised by the Prop 8 would not be in play because only attorneys would be appearing. But Prop 8 supporters still objected to the coverage.

Walker’s order had no other explanation. 

His decision is not too much of a surprise, particularly after some confusion several weeks ago when it looked as if the court had banned cameras in a statement on its website. But the message was placed there by mistake.

The judge has unveiled a list of tough questions he’s posing, perhaps for closing arguments. Among them: How can marriage between gay or lesbian couples be a fundamental right
in a nation that denied all legal protection to their relationships
until very recently? Why is legislating based on moral disapproval of homosexuality not
tantamount to discrimination? More here.

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