On the surface, the biggest news to come out of yesterday’s pretrial hearing in a lawsuit brought by opponents of Prop 8, the ban on same sex marriage in California (I should probably be careful how I describe it lest I’m dismissively referred to as a “liberal blogger”) was that the trial was going to go ahead as planned.

Local activist and online writer Michael Petrelis’ report from the hearing, made an interesting note:

Charles Cooper, the lead attorney for the supporters of Prop 8, refused to enter the media room and make himself available for questioning by the press and a blogger. When spotted outside the courthouse, local TV and radio reporters tried to get him to go on the record for a few comments, but he refused the interview requests.

We called Cooper to hear his side of why he didn’t want to speak with the press, but haven’t heard back. The plaintiffs and their attorneys seemed to be chatty as all get out, so what gives woth the Pro Prop 8ers? Is it something we said?

Photo of Cooper rushing from courtroom to cab by Michael Petrelis

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at eve@sfappeal.com.

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  • Xenu

    He just doesn’t want you to hear him lisping.

  • Xenu

    He just doesn’t want you to hear him lisping.

  • bloomsm

    How about the notion that some attorneys litigate in the courtroom, instead of in the press?

    I quote Monica Lewinsky’s lawyer, Plato Catcheris, standing outside the United States Attorney Office in Washington, D.C., in front of the world’s media:

    “I don’t even admit that I’m here talking to you.” And good day.

  • bloomsm

    How about the notion that some attorneys litigate in the courtroom, instead of in the press?

    I quote Monica Lewinsky’s lawyer, Plato Catcheris, standing outside the United States Attorney Office in Washington, D.C., in front of the world’s media:

    “I don’t even admit that I’m here talking to you.” And good day.

  • Eve Batey

    Huh, that’s an interesting point. But looking at this from a public spin approach (which you must if you’re talking about press conferences), if one side does it, it seems like the other side might feel compelled to, right? So maybe he’s taking the high road?

  • Eve Batey

    Huh, that’s an interesting point. But looking at this from a public spin approach (which you must if you’re talking about press conferences), if one side does it, it seems like the other side might feel compelled to, right? So maybe he’s taking the high road?

  • bloomsm

    My question is, what difference does it make what you say to the press? The only thing that counts is what goes on in court. And sometimes, you might not want the judge reading what you said in the morning papers.

    But we all know lawyer’s never take the high road.

    Signed,
    A Lawyer

  • bloomsm

    My question is, what difference does it make what you say to the press? The only thing that counts is what goes on in court. And sometimes, you might not want the judge reading what you said in the morning papers.

    But we all know lawyer’s never take the high road.

    Signed,
    A Lawyer

  • bloomsm

    Ooo. Bad grammar (lawyer’s).

  • bloomsm

    Ooo. Bad grammar (lawyer’s).

  • Matt Baume

    Here’s what it looks like to me:

    The pro-equality lawyers (that is, the anti-prop-8 lawyers) are better. They always have been. There’s been a strategy on our side of effective litigation going back at least a decade, the culmination of which was the Supreme Court victory in 2008. This guy doesn’t want to talk to the press because he’s not as good at it as his opponents. Right now, his opponents are Olson and Boies (who are very very very good at spin); and for many years before them, our lawyers have outgunned theirs. Anything that he says will become an Achilles’ heel.

    Also, this particular court battle is relatively inconclusive, as it will either escalate to the US Supreme Court or become moot when we overturn Prop 8 via ballot. Blooms is right — there’s not much to gain on their side by talking to the press at this point: a fumbling nervous lawyer isn’t going to help them win with either SCOTUS or the electorate. They’ll be able to buy a better spokesman when the stakes matter more.

  • Matt Baume

    Here’s what it looks like to me:

    The pro-equality lawyers (that is, the anti-prop-8 lawyers) are better. They always have been. There’s been a strategy on our side of effective litigation going back at least a decade, the culmination of which was the Supreme Court victory in 2008. This guy doesn’t want to talk to the press because he’s not as good at it as his opponents. Right now, his opponents are Olson and Boies (who are very very very good at spin); and for many years before them, our lawyers have outgunned theirs. Anything that he says will become an Achilles’ heel.

    Also, this particular court battle is relatively inconclusive, as it will either escalate to the US Supreme Court or become moot when we overturn Prop 8 via ballot. Blooms is right — there’s not much to gain on their side by talking to the press at this point: a fumbling nervous lawyer isn’t going to help them win with either SCOTUS or the electorate. They’ll be able to buy a better spokesman when the stakes matter more.

  • sfboogie

    I actually prefer he stay quiet. It enrages me whenever I read/hear Pro-Prop 8 justifications. And if the reason he’s not commenting is because he saves litigation for the courtroom- then stay out of my house with your litigation/laws/hate/discrimination/etc. and let me live my life.

  • sfboogie

    I actually prefer he stay quiet. It enrages me whenever I read/hear Pro-Prop 8 justifications. And if the reason he’s not commenting is because he saves litigation for the courtroom- then stay out of my house with your litigation/laws/hate/discrimination/etc. and let me live my life.