(SAN FRANCISCO) U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker yesterday ruled that cameras will be allowed in the courtroom when the case challenging Proposition 8 (Perry v. Schwarzenegger) begins. The trial is set to start Monday, January 11. The court proceedings will be made available via YouTube hours after they occur, but a live broadcast will be available at several federal courthouses, including the 9th Circuit courthouse in Pasadena.
"This certainly is a case that has sparked widespread interest," said Judge Walker, adding that the importance of the issues in the case merit "widespread distribution.”
In December of 2009 the 9th Circuit Judicial Council, the policy arm of the federal courts in nine states, including California, voted in favor of experimenting “with the dissemination of video recordings in civil non-jury matters.”
"We hope that being able to see and hear what transpires in the courtroom will lead to a better public understanding of our judicial processes and enhanced confidence in the rule of law. The experiment is designed to help us find the right balance between the public's right to access to the courts and the parties' right to a fair and dignified proceeding," Judge Kozinski said of the decision.
Walker is the first federal judge in the West to make use of Judicial Council’s ruling.
There was plenty of opposition from supporters of Prop. 8 who felt that their witnesses would be subject to intimidation and harassment following their testimonies. Many opponents of Prop. 8 however, are delighted with the ruling.
Equality California issued a statement today, which said, “The time has come for elected leaders to empower all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Once again, we call on the Obama administration to join Equality California and others in urging the federal courts to strike down this grossly unjust law. In doing so, we will bring our nation one step closer to realizing its promise of equality for all. Our country’s bedrock principles of democracy and freedom are at stake.”
The organization has launched a petition urging the Obama administration to join the federal challenge opposing Prop 8, to view it click here.
California’s legal battle over marriage equality will once again be in the news, except this time around, everyone can watch.