WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa),
Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.),
Chair of the Judiciary Committee today introduced legislation to require open
proceedings of the Supreme Court to be televised. The bipartisan Cameras in Courtroom Act 2021
would require the Supreme Court to permit television
coverage of all open sessions of the Court, unless the Court decides, by a
majority vote of the Justices, that doing so would constitute a violation of
the due process rights of one or more of the parties before the Court.
by the Supreme Court can resonate with our nation for generations, yet most
Americans will never have a chance to see the highest court in action. Opening
up the Supreme Court’s public proceedings to cameras and other broadcast tools
provides a window into the court for all Americans, not just those in
Washington, D.C. I’m proud to support this legislation especially as we
celebrate Sunshine Week,” Grassley
“It’s time to
put cameras in the Supreme Court so Americans can finally see deliberations and
rulings on cases which will affect them for generations to come. This
bipartisan bill shines a light into the Judicial Branch of government so more
than just a few hundred lucky Americans can watch proceedings in the Court’s
historic halls,” Durbin
Live audio streaming of the Supreme
Court’s oral arguments during the COVID-19 pandemic has been successful, but
the Court has not indicated whether it intends to maintain this policy once it
is able to conduct in-person proceedings again.
Along with Durbin and Grassley, Sens.
Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) are cosponsoring the Cameras in the Courtroom Act.
in the Courtroom Act only applies to open sessions of the Supreme
Court – sessions where members of the public are already invited to observe in
person, but often cannot because there are a very limited number of unreserved
seats in the Courtroom. Allowing public scrutiny of Supreme Court proceedings
would produce greater accountability, transparency and understanding of our
In 2016, the Government Accountability
Office (GAO) released
highlighting the value of broadcasting video and audio
coverage of Supreme Court and other appellate court proceedings. The report
cites stakeholders who state that the benefits of such coverage include
enhancing public access to the courts, educating the public on the judiciary and
providing a useful window into how courts think about the issues in a case.
Today’s bill introduction
coincides with “Sunshine Week,” a national initiative aimed at promoting a
dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of