Senators Specter (PA), Cornyn (TX), Durbin (IL), Feingold (WI), Grassley (IA), Kaufman (MN) and Schumer (NY) have sponsored a bill that requires the Supreme Court to televise their court proceedings. This is not the first time this came up but it is coming close as the bill has moved onto the Senate Legislative Calendar under General Order 420 for future debate.
Justice Anthony Kennedy and retired Justice David Souter have stated their disdain for any cameras in the courtroom and claiming it may lead to unnecessary soundbites on the evening news. Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA) has stated televised proceedings could affect those being prosecuted and fears judges would “perform for the cameras” leading to an unprofessional destruction of the court. She claims this will only serve as entertainment rather than an open view of the country’s highest court.
Arguments for the cameras state it would open the world of supreme court justices, be a positive influence to the public and educate on a little known subject. Those against the cameras state judges, lawyers or witnesses may alter their words or act differently knowing their hearing was being viewed by the public. Albeit some of the justices are hesitant to allow video, they are cautious and believe the decision should be left up to the court and voted on a case-by-case basis without any outside influence.
This may seem like a trivial issue but this bill could adversely affect every Supreme Court hearing with the introduction of cameras. But maybe it will be a good thing, relatively recently C-SPAN has televised Congressional hearings and with the recent uproar of political and corporate influence bankrupting and misleading this nation, those public hearings couldn’t be more inviting.
Here’s what the Supreme Court justices have to say.