Bench Memos

Washington Post Op-Ed Opposing Walker’s YouTube Order

The op-ed page of today’s Washington Post features a blog-post-turned-essay by the Post’s Eva Rodriguez sharply criticizing Judge Walker’s YouTube order.  Some excerpts (italics added):

If I were a legislator, I’d vote to legalize same-sex marriage. And if it were up to me, I’d allow cameras in federal courts. So why am I having trouble with a federal judge’s decision to allow YouTube broadcasts of the trial challenging California’s gay marriage ban?

Maybe it’s because I think judges should be impeccably fair, adhere without agenda to the rule of law and be as transparent as possible, so that even those who disagree with their decisions may nevertheless respect those decisions. Judge Vaughn Walker, who is presiding over the gay marriage case, has failed on these counts.

Walker performed legal pirouettes worthy of “Dancing with the Stars” to ensure cameras in his courtroom for the same-sex marriage trial.… [R]ather than accept that the legal framework for trial broadcasts was not yet in place, Walker cut corners and rushed through proposed changes in the proverbial dead of night — on New Year’s Eve, no less.… And he gave short shrift to opponents of gay marriage, who argued that broadcasting the proceedings would subject them to increased harassment by gay marriage supporters.…

Judge Walker didn’t allow sufficient time for those and other concerns to be raised and considered. If I can’t trust Judge Walker to be unflinchingly fair about something that simple, how can I trust him to be fair to both sides when deeply held beliefs and constitutional rights are at stake?