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Release of Prop. 8 Tapes Shows Judicial Hubris ^ | September 22, 2011 | Debra J. Saunders

Posted on 09/22/2011 6:52:12 AM PDT by Kaslin

At first blush, Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware's decision to unseal videos of the federal trial challenging Proposition 8 would seem to be a victory for truth, justice and open government. But you can't always tell a video by its jacket.

The deck was stacked from the start of former Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker's handling of a federal challenge to California's same-sex marriage ban -- and not because he's gay.

This has nothing to do with the fact that Walker was involved in a long-term same-sex relationship. A gay judge has as much right to preside over a same-sex marriage ban as a heterosexual judge, just as a female judge has an equal right to preside over a gender discrimination case.

It's his other orders that taint Walker's decision to overturn the 2008 ballot measure -- and his use of the videos as a personal prop.

Walker ordered the Yes on 8 campaign to release its internal memos to plaintiffs seeking to overturn the measure. Keenly aware of the likely chilling effect of that order, a three-judge panel unanimously overruled Walker.

Then there's his order to allow cameras in the courtroom. Walker described the trial as "an ideal candidate" for live broadcast to other courthouses.

Let's say you believe in broadcasting trials purely on principle. In that case, Prop. 8 would be the last case you would propose for the debut of witness testimony.

Opponents argue that recording trials could lead to retaliation against witnesses -- which most judges don't want to happen. That already has occurred with Prop. 8. After their names were made public, a small number of donors were forced to resign from their jobs. Clearly, would-be Yes on 8 witnesses had reason to fear that they would be harassed.

Later, when the U.S. Supreme Court stopped Walker's plans, it did so with this rebuke: "The District Court attempted to change its rules at the eleventh hour to treat this case differently than other trials in the district."

After Walker ruled against Prop. 8, he sealed the videos pending appeal. Later, however, Walker broadcast part of the recordings at a speech that was aired on C-SPAN -- which led to the controversy that led to Ware's ruling.

And how did Walker get the sealed evidence? As the San Jose Mercury News reported, Ware admitted that he himself gave Walker the recordings. It shows the arrogance of this district that its present and former chief judge treated sealed evidence like a trophy.

"They think they're untouchable," observed Carla Hass of Yes on 8.

And why not? Having given Walker the videos, Ware felt no need to recuse himself on the video question -- just as Ware felt no need to resign from the bench in 1997, when it became known that for years, he had been lying about a group of white teenagers killing his brother in 1953. (Yes, 13-year-old Virgil Lamar Ware was shot and killed in Alabama, but he was not Judge Ware's brother.)

Ware may pay homage to "aspects of the federal judicial system that foster public confidence in the fairness and integrity of the process." But fairness? Integrity? Ware treated the recordings as spoils that rightfully belong to the victor. Then he issued a ruling that found he was right to do so. In the cause of transparency. Otherwise known as hubris.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; US: California

1 posted on 09/22/2011 6:52:14 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Liberal lies, like liberal bombs, are OK because they’re filled with sugar and sunshine.

2 posted on 09/22/2011 6:59:03 AM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: Kaslin

Apparently, membership in the “victim group du jour” excuses one from any sort of normal societal responsibility or adherence to legal precedent.

Sooner or later, normal hard-working, tax-paying, law-abiding, heterosexual Americans are going to have to claim massive discrimination, simply because the deck has become so stacked against them.

But it will never happen, simply because they have too much integrity and self respect to resort to identity politics.


3 posted on 09/22/2011 7:14:40 AM PDT by Tigerized
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To: Kaslin

I remember some of the news casts about this. The judge allowed days, maybe weeks, of testimony from people, like the Mayor of San Diego who basically said, “I used to be against gay marriage but now I see how wrong I was.”

It was pathetic. Testimony like this has no place in a court of law.

4 posted on 09/22/2011 7:33:14 AM PDT by Auntie Mame (Fear not tomorrow. God is already there.)
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To: Kaslin

Only problem I have with the editorial is the suggestion that a Gay Judge could —or would have inclination to hear any case on the merits of the case alone. The experience I have had is they filter everything through the prism of their aberrant orientation. And such affect is particularly dangerous when they are in public Office and either soon to retire/or transfer—or if they are in the midst of a gay emotional tantrum. A woman seldom has to prove she is a woman —unless they are “progressive” /or Gay. so while I can agree there is a right -that right ought not transfer as equality of the product.Being homosexual is NOT just like being black— or female.

5 posted on 09/22/2011 8:06:07 AM PDT by StonyBurk (ring)
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To: StonyBurk
A gay judge has as much right to preside over a same-sex marriage ban as a heterosexual judge, just as a female judge has an equal right to preside over a gender discrimination case.

This is a red herring and Saunders, the author of the piece, knows it. Homosexuals are a tiny minority while, last I checked, there are more women than men.

Saunders is the house 'conservative' at the Comicle and she knows she can not stray too far from their line. She has said she knew the trial judge, Vaughn Walker, was a flaming homosexual but she refused to disclose it during the trial.
6 posted on 09/22/2011 10:13:05 AM PDT by fifedom
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It was improper for Walker to hear the case. A case from which he personally benifited from his dicision.

7 posted on 09/22/2011 11:56:27 AM PDT by webboy45
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To: Tigerized

A twofer.

8 posted on 09/22/2011 2:30:11 PM PDT by Jacquerie
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To: fifedom

Sent her an e-mail -thus far no reply—and it was not returned as failed. The “logic” of her argument fails for she is caught in the trap set by the Reprobates. Sexual Orientation is what it is a chosen way of looking at sex. And cannot logically be compared to race -as has been tried and has failed-—nor to genetics .Saunders mimics what a judge said (that black robed
defender of Walker who said it made no difference that he was homosexual or not—that the Judicial Code was not violated.His name is not worth remembering either. I wrote him as well documenting my reasons to disagree. Under such oppression it is a wonder any but fruits and nuts live in California—but I know there are some (a minority) of good people that live there.

9 posted on 09/23/2011 5:48:19 AM PDT by StonyBurk (ring)
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To: Jacquerie

“A twofer.”

ROFL! Now to clean the coffee from my laptop...

10 posted on 09/23/2011 8:10:03 AM PDT by Tigerized
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