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Supreme Court Indefinitely Blocks Broadcast of Prop 8 Trial

In a split 5-4 decision, a conservative majority of the Supreme Court votes to indefinitely stay Judge Walker’s decision to broadcast the Prop 8 trial to the public.  The ruling is released almost 40 minutes after the expiration of the previous temporary stay blocking the court from televising the trial.  In its opinion, the Court chastises the district court for “attempt[ing] to change its rules at the eleventh hour to treat this case differently than other trials in the district.”

In a dissent, Justice Breyer, joined by Justices Stevens, Ginsburg and Sotomayor, describes the majority’s actions as “unusual”:

“It grants a stay in order to consider a mandamus petition, with a view to intervening in a matter of local court administration that it would not (and should not) consider. It cites no precedent for doing so. It identifies no real harm, let alone “irreparable harm,” to justify its issuance of this stay. And the public interest weighs in favor of providing access to the courts.”

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