• Private or semi-private court proceedings can not exist in a free society. It is a fundamental contradiction.

    No doubt government judges & all government employees would strongly prefer to do their daily tasks with minimum scrutiny. But their employers, the citizenry, have an unlimited right and compelling need to monitor their official duties.

    SCOTUS currently has extremely limited public seating — but what legal grounds would the Justices have to object to a 10% increase in courtroom seating for public observers ? There is no such legal basis; it’s a totally arbitrary choice by the current Justices. How about a 100% seating increase… or 10,000% increase ?

    SCOTUS could conduct its proceedings in a convention center, seating 100,000 citizens. TV coverage is an identical principle; it’s merely a cost & convenience issue. TV wins.

    Jonathan Bruno objects that TV coverage would not “improve the public’s understanding of the Court and its process”. That’s a silly straw man argument, totally missing the fundamental principle involved.

  • Merrill, you seem to argue by assertion. I don’t know if TV coverage would improve the public’s understanding of the Court’s working. However, it seems to me that having the Public watch as the justices asked the attorneys questions would be a change in procedure. Currently they are little known. I think it likely that the presence of an audience might change the questions; the justices and the attorneys might well change their behavior for the audience, changing the Court into a more overtly political process.

    However, since a lot of the Court’s work takes place elsewhere, in writing and consultation, that process would still remain hidden.


  • No doubt government judges & all government employees would strongly prefer to do their daily tasks with minimum scrutiny.

    To be fair, the Supreme Court can hardly be said to have “minimum scrutiny”. Their decisions are published and explain the reasoning they used, and transcripts of the oral arguments are available. Even now, you have commenters on whether a particular justice appeared to agree with a certain argument. They just don’t have video.

    I don’t find the arguments against video to be compelling (people will misunderstand? As if they don’t already?) but I also don’t see video as necessary. It’s something we could do, or not do.

  • I found the broadcast of the Zimmerman Trial to be terrific. There were time stamps on the security camera in the store where Trayvon Martin purchased the Skittles and ice tea and with the conversations Martin had with his telephone friend. When the telephone friend testified that Martin had shaken off his tail, we knew that Professor Ogletree’e theory that Zimmerman stalked Martin and shot him like a vermin was false. Since the store was a mere ten minutes from where Martin was staying, there was plenty of unaccounted time that could be used in enjoying a smoke or a joint, or in casing the area for possible break ins. It was absolutely clear that Martin chose to confront Zimmerman and punch him in the nose.

    What has been bothering me lately about the case is that two adult men were in the yard while Martin was pounding Zimmerman’s head against a sidewalk, and neither man did anything to break up the lopsided fight. Mr. Goode rven said that Zimmerman was unable to defend himself from the beating.The two neighbors simply diddled with their cell phones. Why didn’t anybody use the “had they acted” charge against them? “Why didn’t Zimmerman stay in his truck” was often cited as the cause of Martin’s death.

    The CSPAN sessions that come from appellate sessions are interesting to me. I admit that I am usually favorably impressed by the judges. I don’t know why the Supreme Court sessions would be different.

  • If you are going to conspire to rule me you might as well share your kangaroo court justification for your actions. It’s not like the documentation will be used against you in a court of law…right?