A federal judge will consider releasing video of last year's Proposition 8 trial. The trial ended with California's ban on same-sex marriage being struck down. Now, opponents of Prop. 8 want the trial tapes made public. Reporter: Scott Shafer
Rachael Myrow: In a San Francisco courtroom today, a federal judge will consider releasing video recordings of last year's Proposition 8 trial. The trial ended with California's ban on same-sex marriage being struck down. Now, as the California Report's Scott Shafer explains, opponents of Prop. 8 want the trial tapes made public.
Scott Schafer: The U.S. Supreme Court blocked a plan to broadcast last year's Prop. 8 trial. But the courtroom cameras continued rolling, recording every minute.
After the judge who struck down Prop. 8 he used a short clip of the trial in a speech about cameras in the courtroom.
Prop. 8 supporters objected, and asked the new Chief Judge of the Northern District in California to confiscate all the tapes.
Judge James Ware declined to do that, and today he's considering another motion from Prop. 8 opponents. They want the tapes released so anyone can watch the trial on the Internet.
Attorney Ted Boutrous says those recordings are essentially a transcript of the trial.
Ted Boutrous: That triggers the presumptive right to public records of judicial records which is grounded in the First Amendment, the traditions of this country that people have the right to scrutinize the records of the courts that lead to decisions and rulings.
Shafer: But Golden Gate Law School professor Michael Zamperini thinks it's unlikely the tapes will be released while the Prop. 8 decision is still on appeal.
Michael Zamperini: Other than the public's right to know I don't really see a reason to lift the protective order, as long as the matter is still being litigated.
Shafer: In any case, this is really a legal side show. Next week the real battle resumes when the State Supreme Court considers whether Prop. 8 proponents have the legal authority to challenge the decision striking down their ballot measure.
For the California Report I'm Scott Shafer.
From KQED News, Stephanie Martin has more.
Stephanie Martin: Proposition 8's winding legal path passes through a federal courtroom in San Francisco this morning.
At issue is whether video tapes of last year's trial over California's ban on same sex marriage should be made public.
Gay marriage supporters want Judge James Ware to lift the order restricting use of the tapes.
But Golden Gate Law School Professor Michael Zamperini says the law isn't clear on the underlying issue here.
Michael Zamperini: I don't think there's any easy answer on this. When it comes to cameras in the courtroom it's very much of a case by case basis, rather than an always or never.
Martin: Next week, the State Supreme Court takes up the question of whether Prop 8 supporters can appeal the decision striking down the measure.