A Bill to Televise Supreme Court Proceedings

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Bipartisan legislation introduced in the Senate this week would permit television coverage of open sessions of the U.S. Supreme Court.

"The purpose of this legislation is to open the Supreme Court doors so that more Americans can see the process by which the Court reaches critical decisions of law that affect this country and everyday Americans," said Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"Justice Felix Frankfurter perhaps anticipated the day when Supreme Court arguments would be televised when he said that he longed for a day when the news media would cover the Supreme Court as thoroughly as it did the World Series," Sen. Specter said in his introductory statement.

"Allowing the public greater access to [Supreme Court] proceedings will allow Americans to evaluate for themselves the quality of justice in this country, and deepen their understanding of the work that goes on in the Court," added Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who cosponsored the bill along with Senators Cornyn, Allen, Grassley, Schumer and Feingold.

See the introduction of S.1768, a bill to permit televising of Supreme Court proceedings, September 26:


"Justices on the Supreme Court oppose the televising of their proceedings," according to a recent Congressional Research Service report, "in part because the cameras might alter decision making and intrude on the privacy of the justices, making them public celebrities."

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Hugh High - 9/29/2005

This proposed legislation is an excellent example of legislators pandering to what they perceive to be public wishes with absolutely no regard for the long standing, time honoured principle of separation of powers. It would be curious is, for mere example, the reaction of Congress if the Executive issued an order that members of Congress could not meet on particular days -- or had to meet on particular days -- or had to wear dresses -- or could not wear dresses , or ..........

Most legislators do not seem to be bothered by Constitutional principles.