1. Tyler says

    This seems about right. The analogy to contract law was interesting but I’m not sure it was 100% apposite. The court seemed more concerned with an almost common-law type integrity-of-the-courts rationale than an estoppel or even fairness-to-the-parties argument. You see, for example, that the opinion unhappily points out that judges’ statements relating to statutes of limitations are an exception the Supreme Court has recognized.

    Anyway, I think the first two lines of your last paragraph recognize this and I think that’s the underlying basis, if perhaps even a little more elaborate than the basic rationale.

  2. Randy says

    “no institution based on public trust can function if the promises of its leaders can be tossed aside willy nilly”

    That’s a sweet sentiment, but it’s simply not how the world actually works. Governments and government organizations renege on their own promises, not to mention those of their predecessors, every day of the week.

  3. luminum says

    Well stated, and disappointing nonetheless. It seems those bigots have little else to do to secure the tapes remain sealed than to lie, as they have before, and say their testimony relied entirely on Vaughn’s promise. Everyone knows the real reason, but it seems it will remain one of those bizarre situation where the “official truth” is nearly opposite to observable truth.

    An understandable ruling, but sad all the same…

  4. BobN says

    I’d be more impressed with the “integrity” of the court system if the SCOTUS hadn’t gone to such absurd lengths to stick its nose into the testing of video recording in the 9th Circuit. Yet another gays-only precedent. Two in this case!!

    Plus what a slap in the face to Judge Ware. “Willy nilly”? Really?

    And one presumes these deep, deep, no, really deep, worries worries of the witnesses will mean that even five generations hence, the video will never see the light of day. Absurd.

  5. Zlick says

    I read the Decision. It seemed pretty clear, though implied instead of stated, that the reliance was the ability to call the expert witnesses absent their stated fears of being videotaped for public release.

    Perhaps its difficult to point precisely to that reliance because those witnesses were never called, regardless. But it allowed Judge Walker to point to that fact as a detriment to the Proponents.

    But, yeah, in a way – the Proponents never did act in reliance upon the promises made.

  6. Zlick says

    Ari makes good points about actual reliance being necessary, but the Opinion also makes clear that a judge’s word must be the court’s bond if the judicial system is to have integrity and public support. Shaky legal grounds, decent policy grounds.

  7. Tom says

    I can live with this decision.

    Ari, you may have missed this statement, where the Court explained the Proponents’ reliance on Walker’s commitments. It wasn’t in how they proceeded, it was that they didn’t force him to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision and stop the recordings.

    “Because Proponents reasonably relied on Chief Judge Walker’s commitments in refraining from challenging his actions, the setting aside of those commitments would compromise the integrity of the judicial process.”

  8. DavyJones says

    I think the court states what they feel is reliance on page 14 of the decision (and it’s actually quoted in the other post on this):

    “Had Chief Judge Walker not made the statement he did, Proponents would very likely have sought an order directing him to stop recording forthwith, which, given the prior temporary and further stay they had just obtained from the Supreme Court, they might well have secured.”

    In other words, the proponents relied on his word as a reason for their inaction in stopping him for continuing to record the courtroom.

    This is indeed a very narrow ruling, and while I’d very much like to watch the tapes; I understand how the ruling justifies keeping them closed in this case.

  9. Michael says

    If it is in fact the case, as you assert, that “no institution based on public trust can function if the promises of its leaders can be tossed aside willy nilly,” then why can’t I sue President Obama for breach of promise? (Or George W. Bush, for that matter?)

    Seems to me your argument is awfully thin.

  10. says

    While it is true that the court suggested the lack of an appeal was reliance, the problem is that that is not the whole story. The supreme court mandated the course of action, eg, mo public tapes, so an appeal would not have changed anything significant about the main case. It would have been a tangent, insufficient reliance as a matter of law.

    Email by Ari, Typos by iPhone.

  11. says

    Because they did not promise anything directly to you, general systems of political policy preferences are not considered promises at law, and you did not sufficiently rely on anything they promised.

    Email by Ari, Typos by iPhone.

  12. Nigel says

    Transperancy of the court is not allowed for the gays. Gee, I wonder what their next decision will be?

  13. Superboy says

    what I don’t understand is,if they are trying to keep the judge word how on earth do we have appeals, isn’t it possible to reverse the decision (promise) of a previous judge.

  14. Elangay says

    Where is the Daniel Ellsberg of this generation? These tapes should be leaked to the internet for all the world to see.