Televisions in the Courts

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The U.S. Courts are modeling themselves after Great Britain and Canadian courts: They may being broadcasting Supreme Court hearings.

Sen. Richard Grassley (R. - Iowa) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D. - Ill.) introduced of the Cameras in the Courtroom Act of 2011 have fired up a debate about the potential effects of television Supreme Court hearings.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D. – Minn.) opened the discussion by stating citizens have “the right to see how the court functions, and to see its rulings” because “democracy must be open.”

On the other side of the argument, Chief Judge Anthony Scirica of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, was reluctant to allow cameras into the federal courts. “Co-equal branches of federal government have long-respected each other’s authority to govern itself.” The Supreme Court already is “transparent,” he argued.

If cameras are allowed to capture the Supreme Court hearings, the public would have complete access to the rulings and be able to gain a better understanding of how the courts come to their final rulings. This may allow citizens to gain a greater trust in the courts.


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