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Closing arguments in same-sex marriage case may be broadcast

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A federal court in San Francisco may broadcast the closing arguments in the trial over California's same-sex marriage ban even…

A federal court in San Francisco may broadcast the closing arguments in the trial over California’s same-sex marriage ban even though the Supreme Court quashed the court’s plan to videotape the entire proceedings, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The U.S. District Court posted a rule change on its Web site that is identical to one previously adopted by Judge Vaughn Walker before the Proposition 8 trial began last month, which said the court would take part in a pilot program that allows the broadcast of certain non-jury civil trials. The Supreme Court halted Walker’s plan to show the trial because he had shortened the comment period required after any rules change.

“[O]ur review is confined to a narrow legal issue: whether the District Court’s amendment of its local rules to broadcast this trial complied with federal law. We conclude that it likely did not,” the Supreme Court’s majority opinion read. “[I]n amending this rule, it appears that the District Court failed to ‘give appropriate public notice and an opportunity for comment,’ as required by federal law.”

The latest rule change posted by the district court was on Feb. 4. The comment period ended on Feb. 25 — the same day that the final round of briefs was due in the Proposition 8 case.

Although the evidentiary portion of the lawsuit was over on Jan. 27, Walker postponed the closing arguments until after the deadline for briefs had passed.

"If his court approves the new rule next week, Walker could allow camera coverage of the arguments along the lines of his previous order, subject to approval by Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals," the Chronicle article said.