May 27, 2010
By Julia Rosen
Today, we sent a Courage Campaign Institute letter to Judge Vaughn Walker urging him to approve the Media Coalition’s request that they be allowed to televise the closing arguments of Perry v. Schwarzenegger.
There was some confusion earlier this week over this issue, when the AP jumped the gun and said Walker had decided on the issue. However, the only thing that changed was that a notice was posted to the court’s website that trial would not be broadcast outside of the courtroom. We weren’t about to give up so we penned the letter. The letter includes the following:
As we wrote in January to support the request to televise the trial, openness and transparency are necessary to the proper functioning of our courts—particularly in this case because of its implications for federal law, state laws and the lives of tens of millions of Americans. This has taken on an increased importance in light of efforts by the defense in Perry v. Schwarzenegger to strike already admitted evidence from the trial record.
We believe that Americans have the right to know what is being said and argued in their courts, and allowing cameras in the courtroom to broadcast the closing arguments is the best, most efficient way to provide this level of transparency.
As this court and Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer recognized, 138,542 public comments were submitted in favor of televising the Prop 8 trial, and only 32 were submitted against televising the trial. The public has already demonstrated a clear desire for the kind of access to this trial that television cameras can best provide.
I’d be lying if I said I thought it was a slam dunk that the trial will be televised, but we will keep pushing for as much transparency, access and attention on this trial as possible.