Monday, May 11, 2009

Renewed Push To Allow Cameras in Supreme Court

The departure of Justice David Souter is restarting efforts to bring cameras into the Supreme Court. Justice Souter once said that if cameras were ever allowed inside the Supreme Court, it would have to "roll over my dead body." Justice Souter was considered to be the most vocal opponent of allowing cameras into the Supreme Court. The upcoming confirmation hearings for Souter's replacement will give TV broadcasters an opportunity to push lawmakers to allow cameras into the Court. Some court observers think that younger judges, like Chief Justice John Roberts and Clarence Thomas may be more receptive to the idea of allowing cameras into the court. Currently, the court releases transcripts of oral arguments and time delayed audio tapes of oral arguments of high profile cases, such as Bush v. Gore and campaign finance reform. Since Congress controls the appropriations, they can compel the Court to allow cameras in. Sen. Arlen Specter has introduced legislation to force cameras to be allowed into the court, but these proposals have failed in the past. In 2006, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked to push for cameras in the court but she refused.

It will be interesting to see if this effort gains traction now that it's most vocal opponent is not going to be on the court. What influence, if any, that the younger Justice's have, will be interesting to see.

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