Full Prop 8 Court Videos of Thursday’s Hearings

Jim Burroway

December 10th, 2011

Two hearings took place on Thursday before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The first hearing considered whether the video tapes taken during the Prop 8 trial should be released:

The second hearing was probably the most entertaining, where judges considered the question of whether being gay and having a partner made Federal District Judge Vaughn Walker ineligible to serve as judge in the case. Because, you know, divorced judges can’t rule in divorce cases, or something.


December 10th, 2011

I love watching Judges being all … what’s the word … “judgmental”.

And Cooper going off the deep end during his rebuttal was priceless.


December 10th, 2011

Watching Cooper in that second video was FAR more entertaining than anything offered on TV this afternoon – and I have cable!!!!

Timothy Kincaid

December 10th, 2011

Trials should not be televised! Unless, of course, they are trails about whether trials should be televised.

Amidst all the artificial concern about the witnesses (one of whose testimony was limited to testifying that gay people have political allies and the other of which said he is not afraid of reprisals) there is an obvious omission.

There have been, to my knowledge, no actual threats against the witnesses. Yes, they have been called names (mostly undeservedly) but no one has suggested that “something should be done” about them.

Judge Walker, on the other hand, would have a good case if he wanted the tapes squelched. He has been the target of more than a few veiled threats.

Regan DuCasse

December 10th, 2011

Cooper’s performance at the end made it hard NOT to laugh. He just goes around in circles and apparently isn’t being honest about Walker’s obligation.
1. As pointed out, Walker made no public statements or known conclusions about marriage equality and it’s outcomes where in pertains to himself.
2. No clerks or other people close to Walker have an interest in the outcome.
3. And he himself never applied for a marriage license, nor said he had a desire to marry.

Ms. Stewart was right: Cooper is demanding the court ASSUME Walker wanted to marry on the basis of being gay, and being in a long term relationship. Rheinhart reiterated that it’s reasonable to assume someone WOULD want to marry, who was in a particular situation like that.
But as Stewart pointed out, there is no EVIDENCE that is true.
And Cooper is ONLY making a big deal out of it based on Walker’s orientation and relationship and assuming things about it, and NOTHING else.

Well, the courts can’t support an ASSUMPTION.
They can’t support stereotypes, nor challenge the partiality of a justice based on no evidence, or facts or lack of CLOSE relationships to the plaintiffs or defendants.
Indeed, Cooper wanted complete disqualification based on something Walker had no obligation to disclose in truth, because he may not actually KNOW how he felt about marrying his partner. You can’t disclose what you don’t really know for sure.
However much he might benefit from his own decision.
Cooper really IS looking for an activist judge to legislate from the bench and not read or decide the law based on facts and evidence.

I wonder if Cooper and Co and NOM would agree to recusal of six of SCOTUS. By NOM’s logic, the majority of SCOTUS is disqualified because they belong to a religious order, that leads the charges against gay people and financially and politically supports continued discrimination.
To say nothing of benefitting from the outcome of a Prop. 8 decision at that level.

Double standards indeed.


December 10th, 2011

Regan you are right about assumptions. The defendant’s case is all based on assumption i.e. “if gay marriage is passed into law, the future of the institution of marriage will be negatively affected.” Of course, as with all their “arguments” there is no rational basis in fact.

One thing that was not brought up was that Judge Vaughn would most likely (and I assume here) have weighed whether he was recusable or not, and in reflection found that he wasn’t. I’d think any judge in such a case would have felt accountable to himself and the public to observe such reflection. I see Judge Walker as doing nothing less.

I think Cooper’s emotional short circuit during his closing statement was his intense and unsettling realization he had just blown his case, and therefore went internally ballistic. The judges basically laughed him off with their questions regarding whether heterosexuals would have to recuse themselves since they were of a mind to uphold traditional marriage, or a married judge would have to recuse in a divorce case. Then Bois b-lined Cooper’s case like a hive of hornets. That venom had to puncture even the strongest veil of denial, as Cooper’s response attested.

The only thing missing was a Cooper/Stewart physical match. They both were emotionally lit enough for a full on throw-down. But then again, we have no idea what may have transpired in the parking lot.

I can honestly say this beat any humorous legal theater Boston Legal or Harry’s Law could have provided.

Thanks for the post Jim.


December 12th, 2011

Regan, I agree with your statement and the sentiments therein, but I have a small technical quibble. You refer to the Catholicism of six members of the Supreme Court. But being Catholic is NOT “belonging to a religious order.” In fact, there are only a few religious orders WITHIN the Catholic Church: the Benedectines, Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinians. These are ancient monastic or mendicant orders which contain both ordained and unordained members. All others (e.g., Jesuits any group following them historically) are correctly members of religious Congregations.

The correct appellation for the members of the SCOTUS who are Catholic is “Catholic”.

The fervor of their religion should not be assumed. Justice Kennedy, for example, was decisive in overturning the Texas sodomy law. Scalia and Thomas are, granted, much more orthodox, based on their public statements.

None of what I write here should be taken to mitigate the Catholic Church’s horrendous record of bigotry against gay people, made only worse by their own record of the sexual abuse of minors.


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