May 3, 2010
Cameras in the Courtroom: Recent Senate Judiciary Committee Developments
The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved several measures that could, if ever signed into law, provide greater transparency in the federal judical system by introducing televised court proceedings, including SCOTUS hearings.
S.657: Sunshine in the Courtroom Act of 2009. Allows chief district and appellate judges to permit cameras in court. The bill asks the Judicial Conference to devise guidelines that judges can use in deciding whether to permit cameras.
S.446: Requires the Supreme Court to permit television coverage of all open sessions of the Court unless it decides by majority vote that allowing such coverage in a particular case would violate the due process rights of any of the parties involved.
S. Res. 339: Expresses the sense of the Senate that the Supreme Court should permit live television coverage of all open sessions of the Court unless the Court decides, by a vote of the majority of justices, that allowing such coverage in a particular case would constitute a violation of the due process rights of one or more of the parties before the Court.See also the C-Span Timeline: Cameras in the Court which details C-Span's 30-year record of attempts to make Supreme Court proceedings more accessible to the public. [JH]