Despite the order earlier this month by Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware to release the videos from the Proposition 8 trial in former Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker’s courtroom in San Francisco, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered a stay of this order, keeping the videos under wraps while the higher court decides the proponents’ appeal of the videos’ release.
In other words, this sideshow over releasing the videos, based on the fear of the bigots’ attorneys and witnesses that their arguments will be exposed to the light of day, making them look like the foolish bigots they are, continues. The Appeals Court’s time will be taken up over Judge Ware’s order without the videos in public view.
The court set an accelerated schedule for written arguments and a hearing for Dec. 5.
Supporters of same-sex marriage want the recordings made public to show the evidence behind former Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker’s ruling that overturned the 2008 ballot measure, a decision the appeals’ court also is reviewing. The historic two-week trial examined the history of marriage and the nature of sexual orientation.
Opponents of gay marriage insist the recordings should remain sealed because of possible harassment of witnesses who testified for the backers of Proposition 8.
Despite, of course, no reports or evidence of any harassment at all of those who testified or argued the case. Their names appeared in blogs — including this one — and in newspapers and on television throughout the trial, yet none have reported any harassment whatsoever. Fear of their bigoted views being exposed drives this appeal. Nothing else but fear of looking foolish.
The parties shall submit simultaneous principal briefs no later than November 14 and reply briefs no later than November 28. The length of these briefs is to be governed by Fed. R. App. P. 32(a)(7). The court will not entertain requests for extension of either the length limitations or the briefing schedule.
The court will hear oral argument during the week of December 5, 2011, in San Francisco, on a date to be determined subsequently. Thirty minutes of argument time is allocated to each side.
The Appeals Court must rule, and soon: these videos are public property and should be available to all to view. No better disinfectant than sunshine.