December 9, 2011
By Jacob Combs
Yesterday was quite the day at the 9th Circuit. Despite a late start, an old courtroom and a less-than-reliable live stream (we’re still very grateful to KQED for making the live stream happen at all!), it was a good day for our side. Here’s a roundup of the reaction to the trial in the news and across the blogosphere, with a little of our own analysis thrown into the mix.
- First up in yesterday’s hearings was the issue of releasing the tapes. The good news is that all three judges seemed quite skeptical of the Prop 8 side’s argument that releasing the recordings would result in any harm or harassment to the witnesses who testified. The bad news is that they also seemed hesitant to release the tapes because Judge Walker informed both parties in the case that he was making the recordings for his own private use. While the lawyers on our side argued that the recordings had been entered into the record without an objection by both sides, and that they don’t differ from any other recording of the trial such as a transcript, the panel seemed wary of making the tapes public when Walker said they were for his own use. This panel certainly likes to play devil’s advocate with both sides, so this one could come down either way. Don’t be surprised, though, if the tapes remain sealed.
- On the second count regarding the motion to dismiss Judge Walker’s ruling, yesterday’s hearings could not have been more revealing. Judge Smith (the only Republican appointee on the panel) grilled the proponents’ lawyer, Charles Cooper, ripping apart the argument that Judge Walker should have recused himself because of his sexuality and relationship status. The judges had some questions for our side, but for the most part they let David Boies talk freely and eloquently about the rights of minority judges, and the importance of assuming a judge’s impartiality as opposed to making assumptions that ascribe some specific bias. You can find the recordings of the hearings on the 9th Circuit’s website (audio is here and here), and Boies’ speech is definitely a part worth experiencing.
- Towleroad has an interesting roundup of yesterday’s hearings, including a story in the Washington Post describing Judge Smith’s smack down of Charles Cooper as well as an opinion piece by Ruth Marcus arguing that it’s time for Obama to finish ‘evolving’ on marriage equality:
In a memorandum to Democratic consultants and campaign managers, gay rights advocates argue that backing same-sex marriage is not the political poison it was in years past. Indeed, they contend, it could be a political boon — not only with Democrats but with independent voters, some 56 percent of whom approve of same-sex marriage.
Their data? Analysis by Joel Benenson, Obama’s pollster, and Jan van Lohuizen, who served that role for George W. Bush.
- The Los Angeles Times has an article analyzing yesterday’s hearings, as well as another about the passing of Ed Watson, which Adam wrote about earlier. The New York Times also has coverage of the trial, as does the San Jose Mercury News.
- The Huffington Post has an eloquent piece about Ed by Jamie McGonnigal titled “He Died Waiting to Get Married.”