Lisa Keen provides another comprehensive report from Judge Walker’s court room in San Francisco. The plaintiffs (our side) has finished putting on its case. The anti-gay side put on its first witness yesterday:
First up was Kenneth P. Miller, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College, a private college outside Los Angeles. The defense offered Miller Monday as an expert in the political power of gays and lesbians—a designation which plaintiffs’ attorney David Boies attacked even before Miller’s testimony began.
Using a trial procedure known as voir dire, Boies formally challenged Miller’s credentials, showing, among other things, that Miller has to his credit only one peer-reviewed journal article on the topic and was so unfamiliar with the gay movement that he did not know what the Mattachine Society was. The peer-reviewed article was in a French journal of American studies. The Mattachine Society was one of the earliest gay political groups in the country.
Miller acknowledged that he was “not an expert on the full history of the gay and lesbian rights movement,” but said he had “read about it.” But when Boies pressed him on what books he had read, Miller could not confirm having read any notable histories. When Miller suggested his “deeper knowledge” of the movement was from the mid-1970s on, Boies quizzed him about two of the first openly gay people elected to office—Elaine Noble in 1975 and Allan Spear in 1976—neither of whom he knew.
Boies asked the judge to limit Miller’s qualification for expert testimony, and Judge Walker did so—to the role of gay and lesbian Americans and California politics.
We’re in good hands with that David Boies.
At the Courage Campaign’s Prop. 8 Trial Tracker, Brian Leubitz analyzed Miller’s testimony in a post titled, “How a Bad Expert Witness Can Ruin a Case.”