How Supreme Court justices voted on cameras in Prop 8 courtroom

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court issued a final ruling to keep cameras out of the courtroom for live video or Youtube replay in the Prop 8 trial.

Thanks to Mark Giesh for compiling this information. Here’s how the voting broke down:

Justice Age Appointed by Political leaning
Consent (against cameras)
Roberts 54 Bush 2 conservative
Scalia 73 Reagan conservative
Kennedy 73 Reagan swing, moderate
Thomas 61 Bush 1 conservative
Alito 59 Bush 2 conservative
Dissent (for cameras)
Breyer 71 Clinton liberal
Stevens 89 Ford conservative turned liberal
Ginsburg 76 Clinton liberal
Sotomayor 55 Obama liberal

Mark points out that it was 5-4 along party lines, with Kennedy the swing voter siding with the conservatives. But Kennedy routinely has been against cameras in courtrooms, so in a Supreme Court hearing on the Prop 8 case, he might rule on the side of equality.

—  David Taffet

Legal strategies in the Prop 8 trial

Ted Olson
Ted Olson

In the third day of testimony in the Proposition 8 trial in San Francisco, attorney Ted Olson argued that animosity against gays and lesbians was a driving factor in the law.

The Supreme Court has ruled that animus against a group is not a legal basis for forming a law.

As evidence, they showed a video deposition of Hak-Shing William Tam. He sent a letter to Asian Americans claiming that legalizing same-sex marriage would lead to legalizing underage sex. Tam is one of the plaintiffs and tried to withdraw from the case this week.

Tam wrote a letter to Asian-Americans encouraging them to vote in favor of Prop. 8. He wrote that voting for gay marriage was the same as legalizing prostitution and could lead to legalizing underage sex.

In his opening statement, Olson said, “Proposition 8, and the irrational pattern of California’s regulation of marriage which it promulgates, advances no legitimate state interest. All it does is label gay and lesbian persons as different, inferior, unequal, and disfavored.”

The main defense argument is that gays and lesbians face no official discrimination in California because the state has domestic partnerships and are not deprived of any fundamental rights.

Tam wrote to supporters that if Prop. 8 failed “other states would fall into Satan’s hand.” That argument has been entered into evidence against him.

—  David Taffet

Supreme Courts rules in favor of opposite sex 'marriage' defendants

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker
U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker

The Supreme Court ruled on the side of the defenders of Proposition 8 that proceedings today in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals could not be broadcast. The ruling was a stay until Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker had ruled last week that the trial could be streamed on YouTube at the end of the day. Defendants in the case argued that they would suffer irreparable harm from broadcast.

The only dissent was from Justice Stephen Breyer, who is from San Francisco. He said that he did not think the court’s standard for granting a stay had been met or that, from the papers filed, they would suffer ‘irreparable harm.’

This is the second time the Supreme Court intervened on the side of opposite sex “marriage” proponents. In October, they ruled that the 138,000 names of persons who signed petitions to overturn Washington state’s law equal benefits law could not be released. Washington law says that the names of people signing petitions are public record. Washington voters upheld the equality law in November.

These rulings may give an indication of how the Supreme court would rule if the Prop 8 case reaches them. But aren’t court proceedings open to the public and shouldn’t the public have access to those trials when there is wide interest in them? Isn’t the Supreme Court just allowing the bigots to wear their KKK hoods to court?

—  David Taffet