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Supreme Court temporarily blocks YouTube broadcast of Proposition 8 trial

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Monday temporarily blocked [order, PDF] an order allowing delayed video coverage of the Proposition 8 trial on the constitutionality of California's same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] ban to be posted on YouTube. The court's decision to grant the stay overrules an order by Judge Vaughn Walker of the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website], who last week ruled [JURIST report] the trial could be recorded and posted on the court's YouTube channel. The block on posting coverage of the trial, which begins Monday in federal court in San Francisco, will remain in place until Wednesday, giving the justices additional time to weigh the issue. Justice Stephen Breyer dissented, writing that he "would undertake that consideration without a temporary
stay in place."

Supporters of Proposition 8 have objected to the controversial decision to broadcast the trial proceedings, claiming it would result in witness intimidation. The YouTube broadcast of the case, Perry v. Schwarzenegger [case materials], is allowed under an experimental program approved by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] last month that allows cameras in civil, non-jury cases. Also last month, the Ninth Circuit ruled [JURIST report] that same-sex marriage proponents cannot access Proposition 8 supporters' internal campaign communications. The court denied disclosure of the documents on First Amendment [text] grounds, reversing a decision by Walker. Proposition 8 was approved [JURIST report] by California voters in November 2008.

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