YouTube already plays host to Congressional speeches and presidential debates. Now, thanks to a recent court ruling, it will also show footage from California’s federal trial on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, a controversial state act that banned same-sex marriage.
“I always thought that if people could see
how the judiciary really works, they would take a somewhat different
view of it,” said Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker,
who introduced the idea several months ago.
Of course, there are a few caveats. First, the proceedings will only be uploaded after the fact–not streamed live, as was originally suggested–because Walker feels that “it’s important for the transmission to be absolutely within the court’s control.” Second, only court employees may operate the video cameras, so Walker can decide to discontinue the experiment if it becomes an interference or a distraction. (The Associated Press and other broadcast media companies had previously offered to take charge.) And third, the ruling still needs to be okayed by the chief judge of California’s 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals–although, at this point, that’s pretty much a foregone conclusion.
Which leads us to the Big Question: Should more judges follow Walker’s lead, allowing cameras to capture trials of great public interest and concern (excluding celebrity circuses, of course)? Or could the decision, as opponents suggest, cause witnesses to be intimidated or harassed for speaking out against same-sex marriage?
As always, feel free to leave your thoughts below.