Friday, October 2, 2009

Judge Vaugn Walker in Prop. 8 case orders Yes on 8 to produce communications among political consultants and managers

10/02/09 Cal Law Legal Pad, 10/01/09 San Jose Mercury News, 10/02/02 SF Chronicle and 10/05/09 Pam's House Blend:

Legal Pad provides yesterday's discovery order by Judge Vaugn Walker in the Perry case. (Thanks to this site's co-author Rick for advance notice of the order.) Walker has ordered defendant-intervenors to disclose contested communications among political consultants, directors, and managers of the Yes on 8 campaign. Defendant-intervenors must also produce communications about the campaign's proposed or implemented messages to voters.

As has been widely reported, the Yes on 1 campaign in Maine has engaged Schubert Flint Public Affairs, which was a chief consultant and strategist for Yes on 8. Based on a magazine article by the firm's principals, Judge Walker ruled that the firm's campaign communications do not warrant First Amendment protection:
If harm is threatened from disclosure of proponents’ campaign strategy, it seems likely to have been realized by the candid description of the Prop 8 campaign’s strategy already disseminated by [principals Frank] Schubert and [Jeff] Flint.
Discovery just might turn up explosive, or at least sensational, revelations about development of strategy by the firm and organizers of the Yes on 8 campaign, with potential ramifications for the campaigns in Maine over Question 1. As journalist Karen Ocamb observes, "Walker ... hinted that he might limit the public’s access to the documents."

I would expect defendant-intervenors to demand the same scope of discovery from plaintiffs with respect to the No on 8 campaign.

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