The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Courts held a hearing on bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) mandating the Supreme Court televise its open proceedings.
The bill introduced Monday comes as the Supreme Court will hear at least five-and-a-half hours of oral argument next year on the new health care law. Witnesses included former Senator and long-time cameras in the court advocate Arlen Specter (D-PA), Supreme Court and Appellate Attorney Thomas Goldstein and Third Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Anthony Scirica.
Subcommittee Chairman Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), a supporter of the bill, criticized the argument that Supreme Court justices will censor themselves joking, “I don’t think Justice Ginsburg is going to turn into Judge Judy.” The Supreme Court currently releases the audio in all of its cases on the Friday following the case’s submission to the Court.
Over the years various justices have voiced concerns against allowing cameras to tape its proceedings including changing the nature of the Supreme Court. Congress does not have constitutional authority to make the Supreme Court televise its proceedings.
In a Nov. 15 letter to Chief Justice Roberts, C-SPAN stated that a LIVE broadcast of the proceedings would offer the public transparency of the Court's decision. The letter contends that, "It is the case which will affect every American's life, our economy, and will certainly be an issue in the upcoming presidential campaign."