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So what the hey is going on with them either putting the Prop 8 trial on YouTube or not? Is this a big deal?

Okay, here’s the situation: As you may have heard, San Francisco federal trial court judge Vaughn Walker decided he’d put the Prop 8 trial on YouTube for everyone to watch. The anti gay marriage folks objected, claiming that they were worried for their safety if people knew who they were.

They appealed to the Ninth Circuit, who said tough. They then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which, in a very brief order today at around 8 a.m. our time (the Prop 8 trial was scheduled to start today at 9) said no.

Well, it’s not quite “no” for all time — it’s no for today, and no until at least Wednesday, so the Court can think about it some more. Justice Breyer (whose brother, incidentally, is a district court judge in San Francisco with Judge Walker) issued a dissent saying while he thinks they should keep thinking about it, he doesn’t think they should stop the YouTube feed in the meantime. Too bad for news junkies, though, that no one else agreed with him.

So what does this mean? I am not a Supreme Court prognosticator at all, so I’ll leave that to the experts — but there’s an explosion of tea-leaf reading online for those of you so inclined.

The biggest baddest Supreme Court blog, SCOTUSblog, is down today, but Above the Law (Gawker for lawyers) has quotes from SCOTUSblog’s post about it before SCOTUSblog went down: basically, they don’t think it looks good for live streaming media coverage.

The Wall Street Journal’s law blog (they call ’em “blawgs,” ha!) wonders if this is a sign that the justices aren’t so into the idea of gay marriage in general.

Other articles note that Justice John Roberts has been hostile to the idea of cameras in the courtroom for some time, and this could just be a reflection of that.

Slate, in the meantime, just wrings its hands.

Not to fear, disappointed YouTubers! There are plenty of livebloggers covering the trial — I’ve been reading the Mercury News’s — but those of you dying to know how the opening day of testimony went have plenty of options on ways to find out more: Courage Campaign‘s and liberal blogger FireDogLake, among others.

For balance I tried to find a yes on 8 liveblog for you, but can’t seem to locate anything beyond the Protect Marriage website, which is not liveblogging. I’ll keep looking.

We’re also aggregating the twitter feeds of folks reporting from the trial on our homepage.

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  • bloomsm

    Before we all get upset at having nothing to stream, let’s think for a sec about the wisdom behind televised trials.

    First, there are usually no cameras in federal courts, period. You can argue all you want, but federal courts are mandated by the Constitution so it is up to the Ninth Circuit or the Supremes to decide. If you would like, you may start a revolution today and overturn 300+ years of American jurisprudence. Otherwise, you are SOL.

    And let’s reflect for a moment. Are televised trials a good idea? Law is not exactly a reality TV show. It is a complicated process whereby much of what is important occurs off-camera. Thus, the camera focuses only on courtroom activity and skews reality. The public tends to focus on what goes on in front of the cameras, which is not always the real story. Plus, TV leads lawyers to theatrics (perish the thought !) because it makes for good television. Johnny Cochrane, anyone?

    Good television is not always good justice. Just sayin….

  • bloomsm

    Before we all get upset at having nothing to stream, let’s think for a sec about the wisdom behind televised trials.

    First, there are usually no cameras in federal courts, period. You can argue all you want, but federal courts are mandated by the Constitution so it is up to the Ninth Circuit or the Supremes to decide. If you would like, you may start a revolution today and overturn 300+ years of American jurisprudence. Otherwise, you are SOL.

    And let’s reflect for a moment. Are televised trials a good idea? Law is not exactly a reality TV show. It is a complicated process whereby much of what is important occurs off-camera. Thus, the camera focuses only on courtroom activity and skews reality. The public tends to focus on what goes on in front of the cameras, which is not always the real story. Plus, TV leads lawyers to theatrics (perish the thought !) because it makes for good television. Johnny Cochrane, anyone?

    Good television is not always good justice. Just sayin….