NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Cameras in the Courtroom?

January 16, 2015

The Supreme Court has long resisted the idea of bringing cameras into the courtroom, but Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) plans to introduce a bill allowing just that.

Currently, audio recordings of Supreme Court proceedings are released within a few days of argument, while written transcripts of that day's arguments are released the same day. Otherwise, the public has to snag one of the few available spots in the courtroom in order to hear what's going on.

Sean Lengell, writing for the Washington Examiner, says King's bill would allow Supreme Court activities to be televised, just as Senate and House proceedings are. He cites a 2013 Fox News poll in which 77 percent of Americans called televising Supreme Court proceedings a good idea.

However, the Court has long been opposed to the idea of cameras in the courtroom. In 2005, Justice Antonin Scalia expressed his concern that the media could take short, 15-second news clips from an entire televised oral argument, which could "misinform the public rather than inform the public." In 2007, Justice Anthony Kennedy said that cameras could change the dynamic of the court: "If you introduce cameras, it is human nature for me to suspect that one of my colleagues is saying something for a soundbite."

Source: Sean Lengell, "OK cameras, Capitol tells Supreme Court," Washington Examiner, January 14, 2015. 


Browse more articles on Government Issues