The Supreme Court has ordered that judges planning to put proceedings of a controversial trial up on YouTube take some more time to consider before going ahead with the plan. Those opposing the posting of video fear the publicity may chill testimony.
The case concerns same-sex marriage. The federal case is being heard in San Francisco, and proponents of same-sex marriage are claiming that it is a constitutionally-guaranteed right, and that California ballot measure Proposition 8 unconstitutionally upended it in that state.
Those in favor of the ban feel that witnesses testifying in favor of keeping Prop 8 in place may be harmed by having the video of the trial go up on the web.
RBR-TVBR observation: Unless it is a closed trial, proceedings in court are a matter of public record. If somebody is going to take an oath and testify, what they said is going to get out there — in fact, should get out there, especially when the subject is a politically charged issue such as this one. (As a matter of fact, we can remember a time not so long ago when those supporting same-sex marriage would have been the ones trying to make their case under the cloak of anonymity.)
We believe there is no reasonable justification for excluding mics and cameras from a courtroom – they are just a tool, another way to record the event, a huge step up from stenography and sketch art. The courts should be open to electronic media, and that includes the Supreme Court.