First there was Pat Robertson and his moronic comments about the earthquake in Haiti being caused by a "pact with the Devil" the people of Haiti made at the end of the 18th century in exchange for Satan helping them rout the French. Now we have a ruling by the Supreme Court that prevents the televising of the trial currently underway in San Francisco over Proposition 8, the voter-approved proposition making gay marriage in California illegal.
Earlier this month the judge in charge of the trial, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, ruled that the trial could be broadcast on YouTube. But the Prop 8 supporters got all upset about that, claiming that their witnesses could be exposed to harassment and intimidation if their identities were revealed. They went screaming to the Supreme Court crying foul.
Supreme Court justices Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, and Alito ruled in favor of keeping cameras out of the courtroom. Justices Breyer, Stephens, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor ruled in favor of allowing them. Breyer, in the dissent, wrote:
“All of the witnesses supporting the applicants are already publicly identified with their cause. They are all experts or advocates who have either already appeared on television or Internet broadcasts.”The full text of the dissent can be read here.
It should be pointed out that the Supreme Court, in 1981, ruled that cameras can be allowed in courtrooms. The reasoning behind today's decision is based solely on the claim that allowing this particular trial to be televised might put the witnesses at risk.
Except, as Breyer points out, we already know who they are. Additionally, their names and what they say will be printed in newspapers and repeated on newscasts.
It seems to me that if a matter that potentially affects the lives of millions of Americans is being argued, we should be able to see it. And if the people who are against giving everyone equal rights are so sure that they're in the right, why are they afraid to be seen saying so? Particularly if, as they claim, their views are the views of the majority.
I guess it's okay when it's entertainment. You know, like the O.J. Simpson trial, the Phil Spector trial, the Loreena Bobbitt trial, and so on. But when it's a trial that actually affects our lives, we're not allowed to see it.
So joining Pat Robertson as Flaming Asshats of the Day are Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Anthony Kennedy, and Justice Samuel Alito.
Welcome to the party, boys.