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Senate Panel Approves Bill to Televise Supreme Court Proceedings

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. | Last updated on

Will the justices of the Supreme Court need to get ready for their close-up? Cameras may soon be allowed in the nation's highest court, if a bill gains approval.

Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-7 in favor of a bill that would televise Supreme Court proceedings. The bill has now been sent to the full Senate for approval.

It has been a contentious issue from the start.

Some justices are strongly against the presence of cameras in the courtroom. Justice Scalia testified in an October Senate hearing that he did not believe cameras would be a good idea. He pointed out that it could lead to misperceptions. Most Americans would not watch the entirety of the case. They may only view short clips or summaries.

The move to open up the court to cameras does come at a pivotal time. In a few months, the Supreme Court is poised to hear oral arguments over the health-care reform law. The decision that is handed down will likely impact all Americans.

The bill has been sponsored by Senator Richard Durbin and Senator Charles Grassley. Both feel strongly that the cameras would allow more transparency and openness. After all, the Supreme Court's public viewing area is limited. And if there are no cameras allowed only a few would be able to watch the proceedings.

Senator Dianne Feinstein of California was the only Democrat on the committee to vote against the bill. "I don't believe we should tell the Supreme Court what to do. We are separate branches of government," she said, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

What do you think? Should the Supreme Court be televised?

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