So ruled the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today.
"The record clearly shows that Chief Judge Walker did make a commitment not to permit the public broadcast of the recording," Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote for a three-judge panel."
Following his "commitment" he played a clip of the videos during a lecture at the University of Arizona! Following this, U.S. District Court Judge James Ware (the same one who ruled that Walker did not need to recuse himself for not disclosing he was in a long-term partnership with anther homosexual man) ruled the videos were public record. What a pair. Prop 8 backers appealed to the Ninth Circuit, resulting in today's ruling:
"The 9th Circuit agreed Thursday that Walker had abused his discretion in playing the tape, overturning Ware's ruling to unseal the recordings."
To the extent that Chief Judge Ware did believe that his predecessor's decisions were solemn commitments to the parties, but concluded nonetheless that they did not bind him, his abuse of discretion was even more serious: he failed to appreciate the importance of preserving the integrity of the judicial system..."
I repeat: what a pair. The great Ed Whelan weighed in on the decision:
"As I’ve said before, in the grand scheme of things Walker’s shenanigans on the video recording pale in comparison to his outlandish decision on the merits. But they are part and parcel of Walker’s broader course of misconduct in what deserves to be recognized as the most egregious performance ever by a federal district judge.
Alas, given the fact that Reinhardt and his fellow arch-liberal Michael Hawkins are two of the three judges on the panel, there is zero reason to imagine that this ruling offers any sign of hope for Prop 8 proponents on the other two appeals."
That's right. Reinhardt, who should have recused himself (see here, here, and here), and the others will almost certainly uphold Walker's ruling. Then, on to the Supreme Court!