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Would you like to spend an hour with David Boies?

Background Trial analysis Videos

By Eden James

Remember last Thursday night, when David Peck and Alan E. wrote about David Boies tearing up at a speech the night after Judge Walker’s ruling?

Well, we didn’t have the video then, but we do now. The Commonwealth Club has posted it and it’s well worth watching — or listening to while you do chores — if you’ve got an hour tonight to spend with the soothing sounds of the voice of David Boies.

Sit back, relax and enjoy David Boies break down the ins and outs of the AFER case — how they won and why :

And, if you didn’t read the original reports that came in on his speech from our intrepid Trial Trackers, here it is again, reposted from Friday:

(I love the Tracker community! Last night, David Peck and Alan E. — two Prop 8 Trial Tracker community members who comment often — posted first-hand accounts of an appearance by David Boies in San Francisco at the Commonwealth Club. The Commonwealth Club holds frequent public forums with notable speakers that are often broadcast on NPR and on their YouTube page. The San Jose Mercury News was there to cover it, but I was so moved by David and Alan’s personal accounts of what happened, I decided to highlight their coverage instead. The Club has not posted the YouTube video yet, but you can listen to the full speech and Q&A with David Boies here. If any of you see the video go live, we’ll add it to this thread ASAP. Enjoy! — Eden James)

UPDATE: Video posted of a 3-minute clip of the speech from the HuffPo:

David Boies on Prop 8 & Supreme Court from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

A pumped-up David Boies said last night that it’s a “dead certainty” that the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the issue of same-sex marriage if a federal appeals court sustains the trial court’s landmark decision Wednesday overturning California’s Proposition 8. In an hourlong appearance before a capacity crowd of 300 at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club, Boies… (more at J.D. Lasica’s HuffPo)

By David Peck (or “Dpeck”)
(posted as a comment on August 5, at 11:59 p.m.)

Hi All,

Tonight, I went to the Commonwealth Club in SF and I got to hear David Boies speak and answer questions. It was a great experience. As an added bonus, I ran into our very own Alan from here at P8TT. Something to note – this event had been on the schedule for months and it was pure happy coincidence that it ended up happening one day after the ruling. The timing wasn’t planned.

David Boies
As soon as the event began, before Boies even made it all the way to the podium, the entire room erupted into a spontaneous standing ovation. It was very moving, and there was more of that to follow a little later…

For the first part of the evening, Boies spoke from the podium at length about the trial, about the three major points that they set out to prove:

1. Marriage is a fundamental right – he said this one was easy since the SCOTUS had already said as much several times already, and he gave the example of when it was ruled that felons serving life sentences must be allowed to marry (and this also poked another hole in the “marriage is for procreation” argument to boot).

2. Denying marriage rights to SSMs harms these couples and their families.

3. Ending this discrimination does no harm at all to opposite sex couples nor does it harm the institution of marriage itself, in fact it strengthens it.

He went on to give his thoughts on many of the very same aspects of this issue that we all have been discussing here, including the topics in this very thread regarding the true role of the courts and the Constitution in protecting the equal rights of all citizens.

Of course I had expected him to be a very good speaker and to be good at constructing arguments and making a point, but I was struck by how down to earth, direct, and accessible his comments were. He also has a good sense of humor. And I have to say, it just really felt so affirming and so GOOD to hear these statements direct from Boies, and to hear him quote from Walker’s ruling.

And then near the end of his speech, he began to make a light-hearted comment about how his team maybe didn’t deserve so much credit because in the big picture, they had only stepped into the whole struggle for equal marriage rights at the end of the story – and then he had to pause for a few moments because he was getting quite emotional. When he resumed, he went on to say that this victory was for all of the people who had done the real fighting for equal rights and who had given so much, sometimes giving their very lives.

It was clear that this man isn’t just in this for the challenge, or the notoriety, or the money. He’s in it for all the right reasons. He’s in it for the principle at stake. I felt very fortunate to have been there to hear him speak.

The audience had been invited to submit written questions and after Boies finished speaking at the podium the host for the event read several of the questions for Boies to answer. Some were really good, but I’m starting to draw a blank. Alan, if you’re reading this, feel free to chime in, OK?

The event was recorded for radio broadcast but I don’t know the specifics. It’s definitely worth a listen so anyone who can find it, please post the info here.

(And then Alan chimed in a little later…)

By Alan E.
(posted as a comment on August 6, at 7:39 a.m.)

Last night, I got to go see David Boies talk at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco.

When I first arrived, I was looking for an open seat. I found one and asked the person sitting next to it if it was open (many chairs had coats spread across to save them). To my surprise, the person I asked about the seat turned out to be Dpeck! We got to chat for a bit before the even started.

As soon as Mr. Boies walked in, the crowd gave a standing ovation. At the very end of his speech, Mr. Boies started to tear up, and that just got mine going, too. There was a Q&A session, but we had to submit our questions ahead of time. The moderator grouped the questions of similar type and asked them of Mr. Boies in lumps. This was fantastic because you didn’t get the same question over again, you don’t feel bad if your specific question doesn’t get asked, and the timing ans pace of the session was impeccable.

As Mr. Boies was walking out, I had to rudely interrupt a conversation I was in so I could shake his hand and thank him. I made my way downstairs, said goodbye to Dpeck, but decided to go to the bathroom before I started my trek home (having to pee while on BART sucks). Mr. Boies was just starting a press conference, but most everyone who was at his talk earlier had left. I noticed that no one was checking anything at the room, so I just walked in and started taking pictures with my phone and recorded a couple minutes.

Before he could leave, I stopped him to get him to sign my copy of the decision. I also had one more request, something I had been thinking about doing for months: I wanted to give him a great big hug. Of course he obliged. I walked out of there with a huge grin on my face and tears streaming. This was one of the best days of my life!

I’ll get a picture of my signed copy to post soon. You should definitely listen to the audio (it was shown on Channel 2 as well, last night, so there may be video somewhere).

(And a little later, Richard A. Walker added a poignant point…)

23. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan) | August 6, 2010 at 8:40 am

And let’s not forget all of the unsung heroes throughout the years leading up to this moment who have made this possible, beginning with our brothers and sisters at Stonewall who on 27 June 1969 said enough is enough and refused to be bullied anymore, all of those who have participated in studies and/or allowed their stories to be part of a case history and/or analysis so that reputable, peer-reviewed scientific efforts could go on and refute the previous stereotypes and superstitions about us. These people are also a very big part of today. And yes, I think that Harvey Milk is looking down on us today with an ear to ear grin!

If you would like to add a comment of your own, please treat this as a “Lesbians Love Boies” Open Thread…

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  • 1. Lesbians Love Boies  |  August 9, 2010 at 1:13 pm


  • 2. Trish  |  August 9, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    It's fitting that you would be the first comment on this post.

  • 3. Eden James  |  August 9, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Agreed. Well played, LLB!

  • 4. Ķĭŗîļĺę&  |  August 9, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Heh… Well, Boys Love Boies, too, you know…

  • 5. Kathleen  |  August 9, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    I'm officially jealous of Alan E. Just so you know…

  • 6. Ann S.  |  August 9, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Oh, me, too. Me, too.

  • 7. Ann S.  |  August 9, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Oops, forgot the clicky button thingy.

  • 8. Alan E.  |  August 9, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    I can't believe that I mustered the courage to ask him for a hug. I'd been thinking about it ever since I read the liveblogs and transcripts.

    I'll admit that when I opened this post, I briefly thought and hoped it was some sort of contest to spend an hour with him. Can you imagine the competition?!

  • 9. Lesbians Love Boies  |  August 9, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    I thought that too. I would have flown on a plane (which I don't do, Mr. T was braver than me.)

    Then I thought, what would I do…I think they SHOULD come up with a contest.

  • 10. Kathleen  |  August 9, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    If we DO have a contest, with time with Boies as prize, be prepared to see my ruthless side. (evil grin)

  • 11. Lesbians Love Boies  |  August 9, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    lol. I don't have a ruthless side. I think he should just come to Tucson, just because, like I don't really need a reason, because I want it, I should just win…lol

  • 12. Kathleen  |  August 9, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    I believe in compromise. He can go to Tuscon and I'll fly there.

  • 13. Lesbians Love Boies  |  August 9, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    I am such a happy camper today. All those little issues last week (minus one, which I know you know which one) seem so trivial now.

    Love all the Trial Trackers. Wish I would have come out of my shell earlier in life : )

  • 14. AndrewPDX  |  August 9, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Heh… LLB, how fitting you'd be first to comment on <cite>a “Lesbians Love Boies” Open Thread…</cite>


  • 15. Ronnie  |  August 9, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Ronnie <3's Boies too…. ; ) …Ronnie

  • 16. Kathleen  |  August 9, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Have you noticed the list that always appears at the end of each post titled "Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)"? This time the first post it suggests is "Lent Begins for 2009" Wonder what the connection is?

  • 17. Chad  |  August 9, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    right now I'm loving the fact that my new LG TV connects directly to YouTube :^)

  • 18. Straight Ally #3008  |  August 9, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Moderator Pamela Karlan's name was bandied about as a possible Supreme Court nominee. You think the NOMNOMs were upset about Elena Kagan? It would be worth it just to watch their heads explode en masse. >;-D

  • 19. Bob  |  August 9, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    "a pumped up David Boies said last night, it's a dead certainty that the U.S. Supreme Court woud take up the issue of SSM, that's the part that stuck in my head, but it was followed by "if" and there's the clincher, gotta read the whole thing,

  • 20. Richard A. Walter (s  |  August 9, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Will listen tomorrow evening once we get home. thanks for this.

  • 21. Lesbians Love Boies  |  August 9, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    I just watched it in its entirety Richard. I wish I could have seen this court case televised.

    One thing I will make a special note on (because David Boies and my father have one very common trait) when David Boies gets excited and his voice raises in tone, you have no choice but to stand at attention and note every syllable of what he is saying and yes, you do listen and get the 'point' he is making.

    I watched the video a few weeks ago (or longer) of Boies and Olson in Colorado…the audio was so crappy on that video I could hardly understand…this one was different.

    Yesterday watching Olson on Fox and today, in this video watching Boies, I have gained so much more hope for all of us. We will prevail, we have such gifted people who stand with us, speak for us and hold our lives as if we were their children. It's comforting.

    I will have to watch this again tomorrow. My head is about to explode…when he started crying…I realized we are on the final trek. He even states that if they lose, they would have taken our issue to state levels.

    Wow. Just plain WOW. I am happy today that I am gay.

  • 22. mike995134  |  August 9, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    WOW-WOW-WOW … Stayed up well past bedtime to watch this and David's summary and comments during the Q&A were so enlightening and yet one more reason for optimism. As others have said, my head is spinning too in thinking about the possibilities. lol … Not much sleep tonight as I ponder all of this. And dang, I work just a few short blocks from where the Commonwealth Club holds their meetings … didn't even know that David would be speaking there. I gotta' get out more often!

  • 23. Felyx  |  August 9, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    Raleigh Rally today. Hope someone shows up for the NOM side. Look for my sign with my avatar on it.


  • 24. Sagesse  |  August 9, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    At last I'm not behind in my homework. I listened to the audio, then watched the video last week. then the interviews from the weekend, where they sooo calmly and forcefully shut down the naysayers. This is the arc of history.

  • 25. Alan E.  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:05 am

    One of the first reports from the AFTAH "school" is in. It's just as crazy as you thought it would be, and more!

  • 26. Sagesse  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:06 am

    My poor inbox still has 67 unread messages from yesterday, so this may have been posted. Glenn Greenwold being reasonable.

    Marriage and the role of the state

  • 27. Ann S.  |  August 10, 2010 at 1:13 am

    Sagesse, thank you for that link — very nice article, indeed.

  • 28. Sagesse  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:11 am

    Again, in case it hasn't been posted. Matt Yglaisias being reasonable.

    "So at this point we’re upholding an ideal of lifelong heterosexual monogamy by legally requiring the heterosexual part, but not the lifelong or monogamous part. The unfairness of such a standard seems both obvious and overwhelming."

  • 29. Cat  |  August 10, 2010 at 12:56 am

    The last few days, when I step out of the door of our suburban home, I hold my head up just a little bit higher than usual. This video keeps that feeling alive. We have strong allies fighting for us. Reasonable, thoughtful people, who support us because they think this is the right thing to do, and the time is there to make it happen. I just love how Boies consistently talks about 'gays and lesbians and their children', and really paints a picture of worthy people in loving relationships that deserve equal protection. The calm way in which Boies counters the arguments of the proponents is very powerful.

    I hope we'll never need it, but we now have a treasure trove of video material to use in future campaigns.

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