Cameras in the Courtroom, Canadian Edition


The Legal Times' Tony Mauro contrasts Canada and the U.S. when it comes to the issue of cameras in each nation's highest court:

U.S. Supreme Court justices still talk about television cameras as if they were deeply mysterious, brain-draining devices not to be approached with anything shorter than a 40-foot pole. But in Canada's Supreme Court, where proceedings have been broadcast for more than 20 years, cameras are just part of the scenery, barely worth a mention….

"We decided to do this on a trial basis about 21 years ago," [Canadian Chief Justice Beverly] McLachlin said. "We were very wary. But what we have is this: We have some stationary cameras. We are just oblivious to them. I don't think I ever think about them in the course of a hearing … They're unobtrusive."

McLachlin said the hearings in full are broadcast "not at prime time" on CPAC, Canada's version of C-SPAN, but are also excerpted for nightly news shows—the snippets that U.S. justices fear like the plague. In those brief reports, McLachlin said the media have been "very very very responsible" in giving balanced reports, perhaps in part because they know the court could end the experiment at any time.

Read the whole thing here. Reason.tv makes the case for cameras in the Supreme Court below: