Today, OpenTheGovernment.org joined several media and civil society groups to form the Coalition for Court Transparency, a group calling on justices to allow cameras to televise oral arguments.
When high profile cases reach the country’s highest court, the lines to view the arguments seem to stretch endlessly. There are only about 400 seats in the Supreme Court, so even those able to wait in line are often shut out. The Court only releases same-day audio for select cases, so the public must rely on written transcripts or wait until the end of the week, when the audio is posted online.
The Court has not allowed cameras in the courtroom because some claim it would make the process confusing for the public or would encourage grandstanding. In contrast to the Supreme Court’s hesitancy, all 50 state supreme courts permit some recording, and on the federal level the Judicial Conference of the United States has placed cameras in 14 federal courts as part of a pilot program to study the effect of broadcasting court proceedings.
To learn more and sign the petition to allow cameras in the Supreme Court, visit openScotus.com.