Pressure Is On Supreme Court to Televise Proceedings

Jun 18, 2014  •  Post A Comment

Open-government advocates are increasingly calling for the Supreme Court to allow cameras to broadcast its proceedings, but the justices “remain opposed to the idea,” according to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

A group of media and legal organizations called the Coalition for Court Transparency petitioned Chief Justice John Roberts in March to begin televising the high court’s arguments, but its press office said it wasn’t going to happen. The publication notes that it is part of the coalition.

“There are no plans to change the Court’s current practices,” the press office replied.

The report notes: “Over the years, justices have given many reasons for banning cameras. Among them: the Court needs to preserve its tradition; people will not understand the function of oral arguments; the media will use embarrassing sound bites; and cameras will encourage showboating."

The benefits, some argue, outweigh the downsides.

“There’s a real hunger out there from people to know more about the Supreme Court and the justices,” said Ariane de Vogue, Supreme Court correspondent for ABC News. “I think it would be a marvelous educational opportunity.”

The court does release audio recordings, which are issued the Friday after each argument. In some cases, it makes exceptions and releases same-day audio for high-profile cases. Written transcripts of oral arguments and opinion announcements are released the same day.

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