Noting that the decisions of the Supreme Court affect the lives of Americans, Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) have introduced legislation that would allow open court proceedings to be shown on television.
It’s called The Cameras in the Courtroom Act. It applies to any session in which the public is allowed to attend, and permits the cameras to make up for the fact that very few citizens can possibly attend due to space considerations. The Senators believe the presence of cameras will promote “greater accountability, transparency, and understanding of our judicial system.”
“Decisions made by the Supreme Court impact the lives of Americans in every corner of the country, but their proceedings often don’t reach beyond the four walls of the court room. Over the next several days, the Supreme Court will announce opinions in some of the most closely watched cases in a generation. People of reasonable minds may disagree on the proper outcome of these cases and others, but we can all agree that the American public deserves the opportunity to see firsthand the arguments and opinions that will shape their society for years to come,” Durbin said.
“The Supreme Court is a symbol of justice and fairness. It considers some of the most important issues of our time. That’s why the Cameras in the Courtroom bill is necessary. The accountability, transparency and openness that this bill would create would help increase understanding of, and appreciation for, the highest court in the land and the decisions the court makes,” Grassley said.
RBR-TVBR observation: Some on the SCOTUS bench have argued that arguments there are not always what they seem. For example, a justice may ask questions based not on their own beliefs but as a devil’s advocate. Some also fear that the presence of cameras may cause some involved in the proceeding to play to them.
To those arguments, we say nonsense. The proceedings are what they are, and we pay the justices’ salaries, and we have a right to see them in action in real time. There is no reason on this earth why we have to wait for a sketch artist to draw a picture of a proceeding, nor is there any reason why we should have to wait for a journalist to describe the proceeding, including any devil’s advocacy that may be going on.
This bill should be passed by acclamation, and Congress should dare the Court to find it unconstitutional.