It’s a good idea keep government functions open to the press and public. Something changes when public servants know there is a camera in the room, or at least a reporter taking notes. The more ears and eyes, the better.
Somehow, though, I doubt that open-government concerns are what prompted a request from leftist activists that California’s landmark trial examining the constitutionality of Proposition 8 be broadcast for the nation to see.
The Left in California has a long and (in)glorious tradition of targeting and harassing supporters of the state’s marriage amendment, passed by voters in 2008. It’s obvious that broadcasting the trial would be another way to single out witnesses who testify in support of traditional marriage.
The U.S. Supreme Court seems to agree with that premise, as reported by the Los Angeles Times yesterday. The justices on Monday barred video coverage apparently out of concern “that witnesses opposed to same-sex marriage could be harassed if shown on YouTube.” The order expires at 1 p.m. pacific time today, and it’s unclear what further steps the Supreme Court might take.
Courtroom cameras should never be used as a tool for one side to bully, cajole, and intimidate the other. The political atmosphere in California on this issue has been thuggish for years — and it’s getting worse by the week.