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Supreme Court Rules on Televising Prop 8 Trial

January 13, 2010

After a three day delay, the Supreme Court today has ruled that the federal trial testing Prop 8’s constitutionality cannot be aired on television or online with a delay.  The split was conservatives plus Kennedy to reach 5 to 4.  The dissenting opinion argued the Supreme Court should never have waded into this issue.  WSJ Law Blog has more on that.

I get the sentiment of the Supreme Court.  They’ve seen OJ and Judge Judy and Koch.  They know the mockery that can be made of the legal system.  We all do.  But let’s stop and think.  How many scandals have been caused by watching C-SPAN.  In fact, other than the occasional late night fodder caused by a stupid remark by a member of Congress, most people don’t care.

And here’s what really gets me.  The biggest refrain heard in America when the judicial branch is mentioned is the phrase “activist judges.”  This bothers me for a whole host of reasons, but isn’t the best defense against this claim to show exactly what leads to these “activist” decisions?

People care about the outcome of this trial in a way that is rather unusual.  This is an opportunity to educate and, arguably, improve our national dialogue.  Where is the harm?

Update: A more detailed analysis of the ruling at Law Dork.

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