Supreme Court Grants Stay of Order Allowing Broadcast of Trial Challenging California's Proposition 8
Admittedly this case is not IP-related but it does involve an issue in which I have a particular interest.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court issued a decision granting a stay of the order of the District Court for the Northern District of California permitting the live broadcast of a civil trial to five other federal courthouses in Seattle, Pasadena, Portland, San Francisco and Brooklyn. The trial involves the constitutional challenge to California's Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to provide that only marriages between a man and a woman are valid or recognized in California.
The Supreme Court's decision gives a detailed description of the history of the District Court's order but ultimately granted the stay preventing the live broadcast of the trial to the federal courthouses on procedural grounds, concluding that the District Court failed to follow appropriate procedure when it amended its local rules to allow for the broadcast. In deciding the matter on procedural grounds, the Court was quick to assert--in the second sentence of the opinion--that it was not expressing any view on the question of whether trials should be broadcast. Nonetheless, opinions could differ on whether the tone of the Court's decision does in fact suggest or at least hint at a view on the question.
Justice Breyer, joined by Justice Stevens, Justice Ginsburg and Justice Sotomayor, dissented from the Court's decision arguing in part that the Court was departing from its own practice and was "micromanag[ing] district court administrative procedures in the most detailed way," and that the balance of the equities tipped heavily against issuing a stay.
The cite is Hollingsworth v. Perry, No. 09A648 (U.S. Jan. 13, 2010).