11.17.11

Leahy: Supreme Court Should Make Proceedings More Publicly Available

WASHINGTON (Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011) – At a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday morning, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) expressed again his support for bringing more transparency to the nation’s highest court.  Members of Congress, government transparency advocates and public service organizations like C-SPAN have called on the Supreme Court to televise arguments in the challenge to the Affordable Care Act, the landmark health care reform law enacted last year.  The Court is expected to hear arguments on the case next year.

“Unlike a trial court, where you may have some questions of how you run cameras, in an appellate court, it’s the easiest thing in the world to set up stationary cameras unobtrusively, the same way we do in the Senate Chamber.  I don’t think any one of us stops to think where the cameras are.  They are unobtrusive, and both the House and Senate have their proceedings available to everybody.  We have it available in our Committee meetings; we have also online streaming [of our hearings].  The United States Supreme Court should have that available so the American public can see it,” said Leahy at Thursday morning’s meeting.

For years, Leahy has supported the bipartisan Sunshine in the Courtroom Act, which allows the chief judge, or in the case of the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice, to permit cameras in their courtrooms.  Leahy has been a longtime advocate of policies to make all branches of government open and transparent to all Americans.

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