The Defense Rests; Prop 8 Trial

The trial is over for now. In the near future, the judge will call both sides to give their closing arguments. He wants to familiarize himself with all of the documents he’s been given. It’s a lot.

Today we learned even more about the defense witness Mr. Blankenhorn, now being called Blankenhorny thanks to a particularly saucy response to one of Boies questions.

Boies: Go to your third rule, sex
Blackenhorn: That is an interesting subject
Boies: I don’t want to fall into the trap of making sex boring
Blackenhorn: Maybe together we can make it interesting
(COURTROOM DOUBLED OVER IN LAUGHTER)

I’m fairly certain that witnesses making sexual overtures to the opposing council is generally frowned upon.  We also learned that the lead witness for the defense thinks that same sex marriage is good for couples and children, he just thinks it’d make “normal couples” unhappy.  And that Judge Walker is growing impatient with how obnoxious the defense witnesses are.

Q: I am going to try to make things go a little better today, good morning Mr Blankenhorn. Do you believe marriage is public good?
A: Yes I do
Q: And you believe that children benefit from their parents being married?
A: yes certainly
Q: And do you believe that children of G&L couples would benefit from their parents being married?
A: Well, I do think it would be better for them
Q: You absolutely believe it would be better for children of same sex couples to have married parents?
A: Yes
Q: (reads from B’s book) You say the rights of G&L should take second place to the institution of marriage?
A: Yes, I was trying to say — I was saying — I meant that I accepted the validity of the arguments of those who disagreed with me, but my answer is yes.
Q: “With some anguish I would choose marriage as a public good over the rights of same sex couples.”
A: Yes, and the whole purpose of my book –
Q: I’m not really interested in the purp –
A: I am exploring in these sentences the context of my arguments. I want you to understand –
Judge: LET’S HAVE A QUESTION AND AN ANSWER

And the Judge even felt compelled to give him a lecture.

Q: You may important points to make –
A: I do actually
Q: But this is not a debate…
A: I’m not trying to debate
Q: Your honor, please instruct the witness to listen to the questions.
WALKER: One thing we say to juries about expert witnesses is to listen to the witness, including the DEMEANOR of the witness, sometimes gauged by his responsiveness to questions. Because I am sure you would not want your demeanor to be a negative while you are on the stand, so please answer Mr Boies questions as he asks them. Your counsel will have a chance to elicit further discussion during redirect, but please answer responsively.

And in case you’re thinking one Mr. Blankenhorn didn’t deserve it, here’s an example of his belligerence.

Q: I want to pursue whether polygamous marriages are consistent with your so-called rule of two –
A: We’re down to so-called?
Q: Well let me ask you question. If a man has five wives –
A: No he has five marriages, each is one man one woman
Q: So is that consistent with your rule of two?
A: Scholars say yes
Q: You are transmitting the words of scholars?
A: You are putting words in my mouth
Q: No I am not
A: Yes I think you are
Q: Okay let’s look at your deposition
A: Well I was trying to base my arguments on scholarship. Other scholars have other views. Ethnographic scholars have made these arguments –
Q: Well I am just addressing whether I put words in your mouth. Just read page 300, you are basing your analysis on highly regarded scholars –
A: THERE’S YOUR MOMENT, I SAID I AM A TRANSMITTER. GOTCHA! THIS IS YOUR MOMENT, I GUESS. If I may say it in my own words
Q: Let me read what you said: “I am not making things up on my own, these are not my own conclusions, I AM A TRANSMITTER OF OTHERS” VIEWS. Did you give that testimony under oath at your deposition?
A: Yes

We also learned that the so called expert had read almost no literature about the subject.

Q: Last three pages are a series of references, see that?
A: Yes
Q: This is a long list, glancing at it, have you rest most or not most?
A By most do you read 50%
Q: Trying to determine whether its easier to list those you have or haven’t, which is faster
A: Have not read at least 51% of these
Q: then tell me what you have NOT read.
A: (deep, deep sigh) Most of these I have not read.

WALKER: Is the question “read” or “not read?”

Q: Read, your honor.
A: Estrich, Goodridge, Johnson, I think. I think those few are the ones I have read.
Q Did you read both of the Estrich?
A Just his book
Q: You’ve read four or perhaps five of the forty listed references here?
A: That’s right

This is how the plaintiffs finished up.  The defense asked about 5 questions before resting.  I think they knew there was nothing they could say that would make it better.

BO: There’s something here called an abstract. You are familiar with what an abstract is, are you not?
DB: Of course.
BO: Reads that children of same sex couples no different in developmental outcome that children of heterosexual couples. Do you know of this study and other such studies?
DB: Yes.
BO: There’s no singularly accepted universal definition of marriage? Marriage is constantly evolving?
DB: Yes sir. I wrote those words in my book.
Boies: No further questions, your honor.

And the judge continued being classy.

WALKER: I want to thank the attorneys for pleading, fine work, many younger lawyers in the case here in the courtroom and behind the scenes, you old hands should take great pride and pleasure in their work. You have done a wonderful job on an extraordinary case. I want to congratulate you for the fine work you have done here. Thank you.

Prop 8: Wait, Really?

Lead Witness for Banning Gay Marriage: I believe that adoption of same sex marriage would be likely to improve the well-being of gay and lesbian households and their children.

This man, Mr. Blankenhorn, is so vitriolically opposed to gay marriage that he’s the primary witness for the defense.

He thinks gay marriage will be good for LGBT and children. And he’s opposed to it??? WHAAAT?!

EDIT: Have another quote for head explosion: We would be more American on the day we legalized gay marriage than the day before.

Again, he is against gay marriage.

What happened in Prop 8 today?

The defense (yes on 8 ) called it’s first witness.  The Plaintiffs objected because they did not consider him to be an expert.

During the cross, the Plaintiffs got the witness to admit that DADT and DOMA were “Official Discrimination,” caused the Defense council to object that their own witness was not an expert (to much laughter), and, finally, got the witness to say that Prop 8 was discriminatory.  The cross isn’t even over yet.

God I wish this was being televised.  Rob Reiner better do a heck of a job making it into a film because it could be Inherit the Wind.

Mild Whining and Jeopardy

Next Monday I start my new gig as the Lead Assistant Editor on a reality show.  One that my mother loves and my boyfriend hates… so I guess that’s fair.  I will be making more money (yay!) but working 10 more hours a week (boo!).  That’s like more than an additional day of hours.  And because the reality TV industry isn’t about the whole having unions things, my contract stipulates that OT doesn’t begin til after 50 hours.

Need to set aside time to write.  Time in which I’m not allowed to, say, go online at all.  This week would be good, since I’m losing 10 hours a week starting next week.  The rough thing about 10 hour days is that that’s 2 meals you’ve got to do at work, which is difficult to do.  At least on film sets, food is provided.  10 hours, plus an hour to get ready in the morning, an hour of commute, an hour of errands or cooking, 8 hours of sleep, leaves… 4 hours.  No more 1 vs 100 on Xbox live for me.

Also, the online test to qualify for Jeopardy is happening this week:
East Coast: January 26th at 8pm ET
Central/Mountain: January 27th at 8pm CT/7pm MT
Pacific Coast: January 28th at 8pm PT

Also wik, Judge Vaughn Walker of the Prop 8 trial might be the funniest human being of all time.

Also also wik, I am debating posting the Opening Scene from my old Maleficent script. I would essentially just have to type it up, but I’m not sure there’s any interest and it’s fairly ridiculous. And no one seemed to be NEARLY EXCITED ENOUGH about the fact that Tim Burton wants to make a MALEFICENT movie. SERIOUSLY YOU GUYS.

Wi not trei a holiday in Sweeden this yer? See the loveli lakes. The wonderful telephone system. And mani interesting furry animals. Including the majestic moose. A moose once bit my sister… No realli! She was Karving her initials on the moose with the sharpened end of an interspace toothbrush given her by Svenge – her brother-in-law – an Oslo dentist and star of many Norwegian movies: “The Hot Hands of an Oslo Dentist”, “Fillings of Passion”, “The Huge Molars of Horst Nordfink”… Mynd you, moose bites Kan be pretti nasti…

Scalia in Lawrence V. Texas

Not that I’ve been reading supreme court opinions or anything but Scalia’s dissenting opinion basically says that the decision in Lawrence V. Texas means that Same Sex Marriage should be legal.  Excerpts below, bolding by me.

Justice O’Connor argues that the discrimination in this law which must be justified is not its discrimination with regard to the sex of the partner but its discrimination with regard to the sexual proclivity of the principal actor.

[...] This reasoning leaves on pretty shaky grounds state laws limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples. Justice O’Connor seeks to preserve them by the conclusory statement that “preserving the traditional institution of marriage” is a legitimate state interest. Ante, at 7. But “preserving the traditional institution of marriage” is just a kinder way of describing the State’s moral disapproval of same-sex couples.

[...] One of the most revealing statements in today’s opinion is the Court’s grim warning that the criminalization of homosexual conduct is “an invitation to subject homosexual persons to discrimination both in the public and in the private spheres.”

[...] At the end of its opinion–after having laid waste the foundations of our rational-basis jurisprudence–the Court says that the present case “does not involve whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship that homosexual persons seek to enter.” Ante, at 17. Do not believe it. More illuminating than this bald, unreasoned disclaimer is the progression of thought displayed by an earlier passage in the Court’s opinion, which notes the constitutional protections afforded to “personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing, and education,” and then declares that “[p]ersons in a homosexual relationship may seek autonomy for these purposes, just as heterosexual persons do.” Ante, at 13 (emphasis added). Today’s opinion dismantles the structure of constitutional law that has permitted a distinction to be made between heterosexual and homosexual unions, insofar as formal recognition in marriage is concerned. If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is “no legitimate state interest” for purposes of proscribing that conduct, ante, at 18; and if, as the Court coos (casting aside all pretense of neutrality), “[w]hen sexuality finds overt expression in intimate conduct with another person, the conduct can be but one element in a personal bond that is more enduring,” ante, at 6; what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples exercising “[t]he liberty protected by the Constitution,” ibid.? Surely not the encouragement of procreation, since the sterile and the elderly are allowed to marry. This case “does not involve” the issue of homosexual marriage only if one entertains the belief that principle and logic have nothing to do with the decisions of this Court. Many will hope that, as the Court comfortingly assures us, this is so.
Full horrifying opinion here, where he says he’s got nothing against the gays, he just thinks they’re going to hell. 

What I’m doing today

Reading the live blog of the Prop 8 trial: http://prop8trialtracker.com/ It’s fascinating, the arguments are incredibly well-crafted on the pro-gay marriage side.  The judge is whip smart and seems to be really curious as to why the state is in the business of marriage in the first place.  I’d always sort of been leaning that way, that religions should be in the business of ‘marriage’ and states in ‘civil unions’.  They’re making some good arguments as to why the state does do ‘marriage’, I’m almost convinced, even.

God I want to be able to watch the trial.  The most amazing argument from the trial is essentially a feminist argument.  That the roles in marriage have been made gender neutral and equal, so what marriage is is going to be changed less by gay marriage than it was by equality of the sexes.  I’ve always felt that gay rights were a natural extension of women’s rights.

Also following the NBC nonsense.  Maybe the entire thing is an attempt to get free publicity and increase viewership.  I’ll tell you, I’ve developed a healthy respect for that Conan O’Brien character.  And not just because he picks apples with Mr. T.

http://www.tmz.com/2010/01/12/conan-i-want-to-work-for-nbc/

My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction.

Fair enough.  Of course, he’s even better on the intro to his show last night, in which he ripped NBC a new one.  My favorite line was “NBC announced that they expect to lose $200 million on the Winter Olympics next month. Is it just me or is that story hilarious?”