January 14th, 2010

Inspired by Emma Ruby-Sach’s compelling argument Let the Prop 8 Trial Be Broadcast (Huffington Post 1/13/10). Since same-sex marriage opponents are the ones bringing up the harm to witnesses, they must be concerned that their supporters will be subject to threats, physical harm (read about one example here). Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has ruled that there will be no Youtube broadcast, ostensibly because a 30 day notice requirement wasn’t followed. However, the proceedings will be videoed for close-circuit broadcast to the courthouse’s overflow room (not sure how that meshes with the argument that videoing the proceedings will affect witness testimony). The Court split cleanly (though maybe “dirtily” would be a more apt descriptor) along conservative-liberal lines, with Justice Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, and Alito supporting the ban and Breyer, Stevens, Bader Ginsburg, and Sotomayor opposing it. Justice Breyer (writing for the dissent) countered the conservative majority’s claims, saying the public had plenty of time to comment, there was no evidence witnesses would be harmed, that prohibition keep many from seeing a trial of “great public interest,” and that the Supreme Court should not have taken this unusual step of interfering in another court’s administrative discretion. Read about this latest ruling here and here.

     The Supreme Court has held

The cameras will be expelled.

Usually the Court defers to lower courts’ discretion.

But not this time, possibly due to their anti-camera obsession.

     Ostensibly, it was the risk of irreparable harm

That caused the court such alarm.

But as Emma points out, the evidence was weak.

Not to let Youtube is just… antique.

     I thought my title “SueTube” was pretty clever,

Maybe my best website idea ever.

But when I went to register I discovered

That someone else already had it covered.

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