February 09, 2012

Bill to Require Televising Supreme Court Proceedings Passes Senate Committee

By Jeremy Miller

Supreme CourtCitizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) applauds the Senate Judiciary Committee for reporting out of committee a bill requiring Supreme Court proceedings to be televised.  “The Cameras in the Courtroom Act,” bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), would require television coverage of all open sessions of the Court, unless the Court decides, by a majority of justices, that allowing such coverage would violate the due process rights of one or more of the parties before it. 

CREW strongly supports this legislation.  Its committee approval follows our call for the Supreme Court to permit live telecast of the unusual 5½ hours of oral argument on the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Allowing cameras in the Supreme Court would give Americans the opportunity to hear and assess the arguments for themselves in real time, contributing to our understanding of the issues and the judicial process. 

Companion legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives, sponsored by Rep. Gerald Connelly (D-VA), but has yet to see committee action.  CREW will continue advocating for this legislation to become law.  To learn more about this bill and the constitutional issues surrounding it, you can watch Tuesday’s Senate Judiciary hearing here.

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