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Supreme Court TV?

The decision by the United States Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of Obama's healthcare reform law has reinvigorated fiery debate in the public forum. Part of the debate generated by the Court granting cert however, has had nothing to do with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act itself or the legal merits of the case(s).

Instead, a re-energized campaign to bring cameras into America's highest court has manifested itself into Senate Bill 410: Sunshine in the Courtroom Act of 2011 sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R. Iowa). Advocates of televising oral arguments at the Supreme Court claim [that] "it would enhance accountability, transparency and public understanding of the judicial system." Opponents respond [that] "it would only tempt attorneys to play to the cameras, allow video clips to be taken out of context, and possibly mislead the public."

Supporters point to the established practice in Canada and individual states like Iowa where they say the presence of cameras has become commonplace and "pretty much a non-issue." Even after conceding these arguments, some would like this decision to be made by the Supreme Court rather than by Congress.

The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts held a hearing to discuss the bill on Tuesday.

Do you think oral arguments before the Supreme Court should be televised, let us know on Twitter via #PoLforum?

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.