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GOP Lawyers Oppose Courtroom Cameras in DOMA Case

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on September 26, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Challenging the Defense of Marriage Act after being denied spousal benefits, Karen Golinski appeared eager to participate in a federal courtroom camera pilot program.

Though she gave her consent to the broadcast of an October 21 hearing in the Northern District of California, that broadcast will not be happening.

Without explaining why, Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives last week declined to allow the recording.

Under the courtroom camera pilot program, all parties must consent to having the proceedings taped and broadcasted.

Both Karen Golinski and the Department of Justice had signed off on the broadcast, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. However, the Golinski case is one of the few taken up by the House after the DOJ was ordered to end its legal support of DOMA.

It's not clear why the GOP-controlled House decided not to participate, particularly in light of the lack of witnesses that will be present at the hearing.

Concerns of witness intimidation were at least partially responsible for stopping the broadcast of the Proposition 8 trial early last year.

Some are arguing that the House is simply choosing to shroud the proceedings in secrecy.

True or not, one must question whether the government should be able to deny the use of courtroom cameras when there is no overriding national security or privacy concern.

The answer is certainly up for debate, except should one of the parties in this case appeal.

Neither Karen Golinski or the House will have a say in any appellate proceedings, as the 9th Circuit permits the broadcast of oral arguments without consent.

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