Advocates of transparency in government are pressing the Supreme Court to allow proceedings to be televised. The push follows the high court's decision to reject cameras in the court during next week's hearings on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The court will hear arguments over several days in a lawsuit brought by 26 states challenging the constitutionality of the controversial federal health care measure.
The justices always have rejected video coverage. They say cameras could change the courtroom's dynamics and negatively affect the debates and even the justices. They're also concerned news organizations would use only pieces of arguments in their reports.
It's a shame the public won't get to see the court's historic health care debate in action. This case, however, at least raises the public's awareness about the court's refusal to allow cameras.
The time has come for the court to end its blackout of photography and video cameras.
Some U.S. lawmakers, such as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., are calling for legislation that would authorize Supreme Court proceedings to be televised. We support these efforts.
In a written statement, Gillibrand said, "Accountability doesn't end with Congress or the president. The lifetime appointments of government's third branch need some real accountability too. Even though the Supreme Court has the power to fundamentally change the course of our country, and affect the most deeply personal aspects of our lives, the business of U.S. Supreme Court is largely done behind closed doors. Empowering everyday Americans with the ability to see the business of America's highest court will help give them the voice they need to stand up to powerful special interests, and make our government more fair and honest."
Supreme Court proceedings are of vital importance to our nation and way of life. The public should be allowed to witness the court in action. People would have more insight into the issues being debated and the judges who make the decisions.