Yesterday at the Prop 8 Trial: Plaintiffs Rest, Initiative Expert Called

Shannon Minter reports on the first witness called by Prop 8 proponents in the federal trial, Kenneth Miller, a professor at Claremont McKenna College who teaches politics and is an "expert" in the ballot initiative process.

Miller Minter, writing for Pams House Blend, called Miller's testimony, "as an expert on the political power of gay men and lesbians in
California and nationally," simplistic:

In addition to offering a surprisingly superficial account of
political power, Prof. Miller made several admissions that undermined
his credibility as an expert.  Under a withering cross-examination by
David Boies, Prof. Miller admitted that, at the time of his deposition,
he did not know how many states prohibited sexual orientation
discrimination.  He did not recognize many of the leading scholars on
gay politics and history, and acknowledged that he had not read their
work.  He could not offer an opinion on whether gay people have more
political power than African-Americans, even though much more of his
scholarship has dealt with the African-American community than the LGBT
community.  He also declined to comment on the level of prejudice and
negative stereotyping LGBT people face compared to other groups such as
African-Americans or women.  Prof. Miller did concede that lesbians must
face more prejudice than other women, however, because they experience
discrimination on the basis of both gender and sexual orientation.  

Boies also questioned Prof. Miller at length about articles Prof.
Miller has authored or coauthored that are critical of the initiative
process.  In fact, at times, it almost seemed that Prof. Miller might
have been offered as an expert by the plaintiffs on the dangers of the
initiative process.   For example, Prof. Miller has written that
initiatives violate the democratic norms of openness, fairness, and
accountability and tend to preclude compromise and informed
deliberation.  When asked if he still agreed with those statements,
Prof. Miller agreed that he did.

Yesterday, I posted that the plaintiffs had rested their case, but not before unloading a barrage of damning documents and videos against the Prop 8 side. Here's how Rick Jacobs at the Courage campaign characterized the evidence:

Gallagher “This evidence is not just a smoking gun. It was an arsenal of
incendiary devices directed at the LGBT community and voters. This is
how the Prop 8 side won — through fear and lies.”

“Finally, this morning we saw indisputable, documented evidence in
the form of emails and videos that Ron Prentice and Protect Marriage
coordinated closely and relied upon the Catholic Church, the LDS Church,
the Family Research Council, Maggie Gallagher, Brian Brown and the
National Organization for Marriage to get Prop. 8 on the ballot and to
win through a campaign of lies.”

“Last week, the Supreme Court erased decades of precedent by ruling
that corporations have the same rights as people when it comes to
speech. Let’s hope that the court will as readily see that LGBT people
have at least the same rights as corporations and surely the same rights
as other people.”


  1. Steve says

    Thanks for your posts on this issue – I can’t think of another blog or new source that sums up the status of the trial better!

  2. says has been doing a great job of covering the trial in detail.

    It’s really something. Our lives, our histories and ALL our issues have been put on the record by Boies and company. People will be referring to this trial for decades.

  3. oneway says

    Am I the only one a little bit troubled by appears to be putting another group of people’s political views, apparently, on trial?

    If the case for marriage equality is a constitutional one, what does the political actions of the other side have anything to do it?

    Best I can tell, it’s about establishing enough evidence to allow for gay rights to be viewed under the most favorable level of legal scrutiny. But still. A coalition of our opponents were engaged in political organizing.

    To paraphrase Casablanca: There’s an election here and I’m shocked — shocked! — that there’s politics going on!

  4. says

    “Let’s hope that the court will as readily see that LGBT people have at least the same rights as corporations and surely the same rights as other people.”

    Let’s hope that pigs have wings while we’re at it.

  5. ty says

    I can’t believe this trial is even necessary. The majority should never be able to subvert any minority, period! Due process and taxation without representation are the only clauses needed to overturn the results of Prop 8

  6. Sean says

    One thing I find extremely telling is that on all the Yes on 8 blogs, commenting is disabled. And on the No on 8 blogs, hundreds of comments are being logged. Could it be that the Yes on 8 people are actually without defense? That their arguments just don’t hold up? Can they not tolerate dissension in their blogs? I read the transcripts every day. And I am shocked at how the defense keeps proving our side’s case. We have nothing to hide. Every statement from the Yes on 8 people can be shot down.

  7. David B. 2 says

    the dangerous thing upcoming is that SCOTUS is about to make the leap from corporation to Church — that is right Church — can bankroll politicians and preach a way to vote! It has begun — if corporations can fund politicians, then churches can fund political movements. A Big Slippery Slope.