While the issue might not be as divisive as abortion or racial quotas, the idea of television cameras – or cameras of any kind – during a Supreme Court session is definitely new.
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett said she’s open to the idea, even though cameras have not been allowed during Supreme Court sessions during its 230-year history.
“I would certainly keep an open mind about allowing cameras in the Supreme Court.”
Senator Grassley, who asked about it, said:
“Many of us believe that allowing cameras in the courtroom would open the courts to the public and bring a better understanding of the judiciary.”
Meh, that seems highly unlikely. Cases argued before the Supreme Court tend to hang on very technical interpretations of the law. If viewers don’t have a strong understanding of the facts of a case and the legal issue in question, it’s likely that the proceedings would be pretty boring.
Still, allowing cameras would give lawyers and aspiring lawyers a chance to see the court in action.
Today, some local and state courts permit live television broadcasts of proceeding, but most federal courts do not.
Not everyone likes the idea, including several Supreme Court Justices.
In 1996, former Justice David Souter said:
“The day you see a camera come into our courtroom, it’s going to roll over my dead body.”
Times change. If the cameras do make it to the Supreme Court, perhaps the youngish Amy Coney Barrett will become sort of a Judge Judy.