A strong bipartisan majority of the Senate Judiciary Committee forwarded a bill that would allow electronic coverage of events in federal courts, including the big Supreme one. Another measure passed would grease the wheels for cameras in SCOTUS.
“Sunshine in the Courtroom Act” received a 13-6 vote of approval and is now on its way to the full Senate.
Another bill would permit televised coverage of oral arguments made before the Supreme Court unless the justices expressly voted against such coverage in a specific case, and further said it was the sentiment of Congress that such court activities should be open to electronic coverage.
The Radio Television Digital News Association hailed the action. “RTDNA has long-championed opening our federal courts to cameras and microphones in the same fashion as the majority of our states permit,” said Chairman Mark Kraham. “The opportunity for news consumers to witness the inner workings of federal courts through electronic coverage, thus gaining a better understanding of the U.S. legal system and holding judges accountable is, without a doubt, overdue.”
RBR-TVBR observation: We have long been advocating a policy whereby if justices insist that journalists continue to use 19th Century technology to cover court proceedings, that they themselves be limited to 19th Century technology in matters of their own personal comfort and utility.
Suffice it to say that if this bill passes and the justices develop a good track record of not voting down cameras, we will not force them to construct a judicial outhouse on SCOTUS grounds.