Monday, December 12, 2011

Cameras in the Supreme Court

The US Supreme Court has scheduled 5.5 hours of oral argument on the constitutionality of Obamacare, including whether the tax law can be used to force individuals to buy health insurance. Now Congress is considering forcing the court to televise the hearing:
A proposed law ordering the US Supreme Court to provide live television coverage of its public proceedings threatens to spark a constitutional showdown pitting Congress against the nation’s highest court, legal experts warned members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

The experts were asked to analyze the Cameras in the Courtroom Act of 2011, which, if passed, would require television coverage of all open sessions at the high court.
The committee hearing was broadcast on C-SPAN on Saturday, and can be viewed here.

The Senators have no sympathy for the court, since they broadcast their own proceedings on C-SPAN.

The main argument against televising was that the Supreme Court justices are in a better position to know what is in the interests of the court, and a majority of them are against video. Justice Souter once said that video clips of him in his previous position on the state court sometimes showed up on the evening news, and he always looked like a fool.

So far, Congress has not had the nerve to force cameras, but they want the Supreme Court to accept cameras voluntarily. There are state supreme courts and federal appeals courts with video cameras, and no harm has resulted.

To me, this is a simple case of judges being afraid to be held accountable for what they do. This Obamacare decision could affect us all, and we citizens have a right to see the process. The more govt officials are held accountable, the better.


Anonymous said...

Amen to that, George! And bring back the court reporters to the SC Family Law Court. Let people have a record of what happens in Morse's court!

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