The U.S. Court of Appeals fo the Ninth Circuit today granted a stay pending appeal of U.S. District Court Judge James Ware's order unsealing the tapes of the Proposition 8 trial. The appeals court, however, set a rapid schedule for considering the matter, ordering oral arguments on the question of releasing the tapes for the week of December 5.
From the three-judge panel considering the matter in today's order:
The parties shall submit simultaneous principal briefs no later than November 14 and reply briefs no later than November 28. The length of these briefs is to be governed by Fed. R. App. P. 32(a)(7). The court will not entertain requests for extension of either the length limitations or the briefing schedule.
The court will hear oral argument during the week of December 5, 2011, in San Francisco, on a date to be determined subsequently. Thirty minutes of argument time is allocated to each side.
The question of whether the tapes should be unsealed is being considered at the same time that the Ninth Circuit is considering the appeal of the August 2010 decision by now-retired U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker striking down Proposition 8 as unconstitutional. The appeals court asked the California Supreme Court to explain whether proponents have a special interest in or legal right to defend an initiative in court when, as with Proposition 8, the state officials who generally would defend the law in court have decided it is not in the state's interest to do so. Once the California Supreme Court issues its decision, then the Ninth Circuit will decide whether the proponents have standing to bring the appeal and, if so, whether Walker was correct on the merits of the argument that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.
Read the order: 2011-10-24-Order-granting-motion-to-stay-trial-video.pdf