Senators Seek Public Access To Historic Supreme Court Ruling

WASHINGTON (Tuesday, June 19, 2012) - Senators Chuck Grassley and Patrick Leahy have asked Chief Justice John Roberts to consider live television coverage of proceedings when the Supreme Court delivers its ruling on the 2010 health care law, which is expected this month.


Leahy and Grassley, who serve as Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made their request in a letter sent Monday.  Both senators are longtime advocates of allowing broadcast coverage of federal court proceedings, and they support allowing camera coverage of Supreme Court proceedings.


Below is the text of their letter.  Click here to see a signed copy of the letter.

June 18, 2012

The Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr.

Chief Justice of the United States

Supreme Court of the United States

Washington, DC 20543

Dear Chief Justice Roberts:

We write to urge the Supreme Court to consider live television coverage of its proceedings when the Court delivers its ruling in the case of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  It is our understanding that the court will likely issue the ruling sometime over the next couple of weeks.

We believe that the issues in the case are as important and consequential as any in recent Court history.  In conducting its review, the Court directed parties to address the constitutionality of the act, the severability of the individual mandate, and the extent of the spending power of Congress.  Given the fundamental constitutional questions raised and the effects the decision will have, the Court should be aware of the great interest Americans have in the outcome of this case.

Broadcasting the Court’s ruling would permit millions of citizens the opportunity to view what so few can from the court’s small and limited public gallery.  Modern technology makes televising the proceedings simple and unobtrusive.  A minimal number of cameras in the courtroom, which could be placed to be barely noticeable to all participants, would provide live coverage of what may be one of the most historic rulings of our time.  We believe permitting the nation to watch the proceedings would bolster public confidence in our judicial system and in the decisions of the Court.


Patrick Leahy


Charles E. Grassley

Ranking Member

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