Linda Greenhouse examines the simmering dispute over televising court proceedings that arose because opponents of gay marriage want as little widespread public exposure as possible of the constitutional case being presented against them. The TV issue combines with anti-gay activists’ efforts to close to the public the names of people who sign petitions to put anti-gay referendums on the ballot. And it combines with efforts to seal the names of financial contributors to political issue campaigns.

Personal privacy versus openness about who’s moving the levers of politics? Openness should win. It would if the right-wing clique dominating the Supreme Court was on the other side of the core issues underlying these specific cases. It isn’t. Equal rights for minorities are of little concern to the Roberts-Alito-Scalia-Thomas-Kennedy gang.

Unmentioned in most of the coverage of this is an item of importance in Arkansas. Public review of petition signers is critical to finding fraud in the signature gathering process. The review is vital to an honest system. The state alone can’t be trusted with the review.

It’s ironic that the justices who want to seal the legislative petition process from public accountability are often friendly to much more invasive voter ID plans. But, again, they know their kind isn’t usually the kind discouraged by such shakedowns.