A panel of the Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals ruled today, unanimously, that the videos made during the Perry v Schwarzenegger trial by then-Chief Judge Vaughn Walker of the proceedings in his courtroom and ordered released by his successor, Chief Judge James Ware, will remain sealed and not viewable by the public, in order to “preserve the integrity of the judicial process.”
Whatever that means.
Apparently, Judge Walker’s announcement long ago to the litigants that the videos would continue to be made for his personal use while crafting his decision and writing his ruling matters more to the Court of Appeals panel than the public’s right to see its own government action, consuming its own tax dollars and deciding about its own lives.
Videos of the San Francisco trial over California’s ban on same-sex marriage must remain sealed, a federal appeals court ruled today, saying the trial judge who authorized the recordings had promised that they would not be broadcast.
“The integrity of our judicial system depends in no small part on the ability of litigants and members of the public to rely on a judge’s word,” said the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a 3-0 ruling.
Unless the litigants decide to consume precious donated resources to appeal this ruling to the entire en banc Appeals Court and thence to the US Supreme Court — and really, why would they when the decision has been couched in terms of protecting the precious integrity of the court system, the same court that has allowed warrantless wiretapping and the shredding of the Fourth Amendment? — the American people may never see the trial. Clearly, the most important and highest value to this Court is the integrity of the judicial process, a judicial process that already became a laughingstock in December 2000 when the highest court appointed a president.
But you judges go right ahead and act like that still matters, m’kay? We’ll continue to sit here and stew in the dark while you debate our civil rights with no comprehensive access by the people whatsoever.