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"There have been no good reasons not to televise the Supreme Court."

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In an unsigned editorial, The New York Times notes that in England, "the highest court in the land…has the good sense to see that televising hearings can boost the court's reputation and confidence in the legal system." Unlike over here:

The Supreme Court of the United States, however, still refuses to see these benefits. It does not allow broadcasts of oral arguments out of a misguided worry that cameras would encourage grandstanding by lawyers and might cause the justices to censor their questions.

But the court currently releases transcripts of oral arguments soon after they are finished and audio recordings of arguments the week they occur — all without causing grandstanding or self-censorship. Adding video would further enhance public understanding of the court.

Reason.tv made the case for cameras in the Supreme Court back in 2010, though as you'll see in the video below, my colleagues also touched on certain subjects that The New York Times' more sensitive readers might prefer to avoid:

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  1. Who would want to watch a show about retards in black robes anyway?

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    1. Quit making fun of American Muslim.

    2. Maybe if there was more sex…

      1. The GILF market is a pretty small niche.

        1. Or JILF – Justices I’d Like to Fire Fuck

          1. (clawing frantically through medicine cabinet for anti-emetics)

      2. Alternatively: halftime shows with young cheer leading law students?

        1. Fucking sold.

        2. Law students gone wild?

          1. “yes, I would like to have that string of beads in exchange for showing my tits on camera, but first I’m going to need you to sign these…”

    3. “All rise. This honorable court is now in session; Chief Justice Corky presiding. God save this honorable court.”

  2. And exactly how many people, beyond Eugene and Ilya types, scour the audio and written portion of the SCOTUS cases?

    Not many.

    Having watched only 2,312 of the 11,927 GOP debates so far, I’m not that confident in the ability of televising to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    It’s like the difference between watching a movie and reading the book that it’s based on.

    1. I’m not that confident in the ability of televising to separate the wheat from the chaff.

      That’s not television’s job… it’s yours.

      Anyway that’s not a good enough reason (drink?) to keep cameras out.

    2. “It’s like the difference between watching a movie and reading the book that it’s based on.”

      Not necessarily a good example – I have seen FAR too many movies that were significantly different from the book. Watchman – I’m looking at you. Even the film version of Fight Club had a somewhat “happier” ending.

      1. Although Palahniuk said that he found the movie to be a fuller expression of what he was trying to say.

        or something like that. Basically on the DVD commentary you get the impression that he liked the movie better than his own book.

  3. “Adding video would further enhance public understanding of the court.”

    I think you’ve hit on the reason that the Court doesn’t want to be televised.

    1. Quite possibly, but the converse could also be true, with much of the time spent on distraction by personality rather than an examination of the arguments at hand.

      1. “Quite possibly, but the converse could also be true, with much of the time spent on distraction by personality rather than an examination of the arguments at hand.”

        Almost all politicians try to hog the camera as often as possible – they want to have some level of “fame”. Cameras in the courtroom could turn justices into camera hogs as well. That said, I think the advantages of cameras in the court far outweigh the disadvantages. But that is a particular drawback.

        1. Cameras in the courtroom could turn justices into camera hogs as well.

          Having seen the SCOTUS in person, I don’t think this really would be an issue. More likely the lawyers arguing their cases would grandstand a bit more, knowing they are on camera – gotta build that rep.

  4. The British court, which replaced the Law Lords as the highest court in the land in 2009, has the good sense to see that televising hearings can boost the court’s reputation and confidence in the legal system.

    Not if they’re wearing those wigs it doesn’t.

    1. I think Congress should wear clown suits. It would be an apropriate dress code.

  5. “”worry that cameras would encourage grandstanding by lawyers and might cause the justices to censor their questions.””

    I could be mistaken but didn’t SCOTUS uphold cameras in lower courts?

    1. Yeah, but I think it is still generally up to judges to decide whether or not to allow them.

  6. I bet the Oracle of Delphi didn’t like people watching her huff either. Ruins the mystique.

  7. “There have been no good reasons not to televise the Supreme Court.”

    One word: racism.

    1. Two words: Justice Ginsberg

      1. Justice Ginsberg in 1080p.

        1. That’s just frightening.

        2. Another great argument to not allow televising.

        3. Ginsberg rimming out Scalia while Roberts rails her anally.

          1. That was really uncalled for. Some of us are eating lunch.

            1. “Ginsberg rimming out Scalia while Roberts rails her anally.”

              There is no right or wrong way to have sex. Just have fun, explore and be yourself!

              1. Sure. But not in the middle of my lunch.

          2. I’m watching Madonna in 1080p right now. She is on stage for a presser on NFL Network. She’s the half time “entertainment”. Repulsive.

            1. They need to go back to inviting college bands or roving bands of gay guys (AKA Up With People). There are no pop stars left worthy of the distinction.

              1. Here’s some Youtube of Up With People at the Super Bowl. For our younger commenters who may not have experienced them.

                1. As I remember, the world pretty much hit peak gayness when they hit the field.

                  1. Right, because 22 guys in spandex tights jumping on each other wasn’t very gay…

          3. Switch Ginsberg and Scalia.

            1. That’s what they do in the afternoon session.

              1. I thought that was Ginsberg and Roberts. She has a colossal strap-on.

                1. If anyone is using a strap-on, it is the wise latina.

                  1. I would have thought Kagan.

            2. I say we put the switch to all of them.

  8. But if they allow videos of the hearings Breyer’s hair might look bad.

  9. Dude, nobody watches C-SPAN anyways. Does it really matter? Nobody’s going to freaking watch the SC hold hearing after hearing in pure legalese.

    I don’t really care if they allow cameras, but I can see a great argument to not allow them (grandstanding) while I can’t see very many arguments for allowing them.

  10. This is funny. Mickey Klaus asks “What does Obama do all day?”. Apparently there is a piece in the current New Yorker that shows Obama to be an idiot who makes decisions by checking blocks on memos prepared by his aids.

    Now Klaus is actually a fairly intelligent liberal. He see through the really stupid stuff liberals say. But he is in the end a real “top men” liberal at heart. And that makes him into a buffoon a lot of times. This is the guy who still defends Obamacare. And here refuses to entertain the idea that the Obamasiah is well not very bright. This part is classic.

    I’m sure Obama is smarter than this. He can’t be an executive who spends his days checking boxes, accepting the choices presented by his aides, never reaching outside them through unconventional channels or reaching unconventional thinkers, never throwing over the framework with which he is presented.

    I’m sure of it, but I can’t find much evidence for it in Lizza’s piece.

    http://dailycaller.com/2012/02…..o-all-day/

    1. “I was elected to lead, not to read!”

      1. “You already said 3….There is no 6.”

    2. You know there’s no ‘l’ in Mickey’s last name, right?

      1. I always forget that. What the hell kind of name is “Kaus”? He needs an L.

    3. Wasn’t George Bush heavily criticized for exactly this same thing?

      1. But he was TEAM RED. See the difference now?

      2. Not sure the exact same thing. But he was definitely called detached and stupid. And he was so excoriated for playing golf during a time of war, he quit altogether in 2003.

        1. I seem to remember that he liked his advisors to bring him nicely-defined, binary choices. TEAM BLUE called him stupid for it, and they were absolutely right.

          1. That is stupid.

          2. Let me be clear. Often I have to choose between three boxes.

            1. What’s especially funny is that Kaus notes that Obama’s three choices are often just an adaptation of his lame “there are those who say” formulation. You know, the one where he caricatures two positions that no serious person is taking, and then congratulates himself for staking out a position somewhere – anywhere! – in the middle. Kaus:

              Finally, he’s presented with a classic three-box-con memo?two extreme boxes (big new jobs package, big new deficit package) and a safer middle box (“smaller, more symbolic” deficit efforts), a matrix clearly designed to get him to choose the middle option. He chooses the middle option.

  11. If you allow judges to be videotaped while issuing rulings, then soon people will be clamoring for police to be videotaped while beating up black guys.

  12. They would need to put a strobe light on Clarence Thomas to give some illusion of life.

    1. Yeah, because Ginsberg and Breyer are just so animated.

  13. Of course you are stupid enough to believe anything.

    You’re like the idiots who saw the box attached to Bush’s back in his debates and claimed Bush was on some secret transmission device to coach him.

    Of course listening to a “coach” during a televised debate would be much harder than actually participating in the debate as a 4-yr president but the get-Bush crowd ate that bullshit up.

    1. (this was for John above)

    2. Meds. Please take them.

    3. The New Yorker is lying about Obama? Mickey Kaus, a committed liberal and Obama supporter, is lying too?

      Every day you get a little less coherent than the day before. And each day I think that is impossible. But damned if you don’t prove me wrong.

      1. There are lots of progressives who hate Obama because he is a “bank-friendly, neo-capitalist, war-monger”.

        I actually hate those fucking Michael Moore types.

        I am a secular, gun-owning, capitalist – where should my party ID be?

        Not with a fat dipshit like Micheal Moore.

        1. And I’m gun-hating commie scum who uses appeals to Jesus to justify welfare spending. You shouldn’t identify with me, either.

          1. Lay off the redneck AM radio pal.

            THEY COMIN’ TO GET MAH GUNS AND BIBLE!

            1. Are you one of those bitter gun owning clingers there Shrike?

              1. The only thing I bitterly cling to is Obama’s nuts.

                1. NTTAWWT Shrike.

                2. I wanna cut them out.

            2. Lay off the redneck AM radio pal.

              Ok, now it needs more christfags.

              1. I am not sure exactly how that particular CF slur is supposed to work. Are not leftists who criticize Evangelical Christians almost universally supportive of gay rights? How does that work?

                1. I think the general way that the fucktard uses it is any christian = hungry to suck christ’s cock.

  14. The New York Times notes that in England, “the highest court in the land…has the good sense to see that televising hearings can boost the court’s reputation and confidence in the legal system.” Unlike over here:

    I call bullshit.

    Serious show of hands: Since televising the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body on C-Span, who has more confidence in our legislative process?

    1. Seriously, every time I catch some bit of congress on that channel I think “how can someone this stupid even put together a campaign, let alone be elected?”

      1. Mr Simple… that is the sound of Electability!

      2. “how can someone this stupid even put together a campaign, let alone be elected?”

        that’s why you hire someone with >= two brain cells to manage the campaign, duh.

  15. You’re like the idiots who saw the box attached to Bush’s back in his debates and claimed Bush was on some secret transmission device to coach him.

    If Bush appeared at all times prior to that to have had a secret-transmission coach-box on his back, then on that one additional occasion, he looked even more like he had a secret-transmission coach-box on his back, yeah.

    Obama has always come off as a box-checking moron, and now comes the shocking revelation, from a journalist on his own TEAM!, that Obama spends his days moronically checking boxes.

    Well no shit he does.

    1. But Mickey knows Obama is smarter than that. He just knows it.

    2. Check one:

      [ ] KILL IT WITH DRONES!

      [ ] KILL IT WITH DRONES!

      1. +100

        But you forgot

        [ ] REGULATE IT

        [ ] TAX IT

        [ ] ALL OF THE ABOVE

        1. TAXULATION!

          1. So Sugar Free. I am thinking when Sotomayor came on the court, Ginsburg was glad to finally have a female top. I wonder who is top now that Kagan is on the Court.

            1. Do you fantasize about Scalia butt-fucking Clarence Thomas?

              Is that why Clarence is so silent?

              1. No Shrike, I prefer lesbian rather than gay porn. But if gay porn is your thing, you go to town.

              2. Mother May I Sleep With Danger?

            2. I think at this point Roberts runs the whole thing like a bi-sexual polygamy cult. Kagen is whatever The Patriarch tells her to be. But whatever it is, you can bet she’s face-down during it. [shudder]

              1. See? This is why no one takes libertarians seriously!

  16. How about we do a deal, I will go along with the right to privacy of the Supreme Court if they will go along with the right to privacy for the public and stop the no knock raids and the bugging of everyone in the country.

    1. Deal!

      I like both a lot! But I am a classic liberal and not a conservative.

      1. But I am a classic liberal and not a conservative.

        Completely Unnecessary Partisanship, check.

      2. Yep! That’s me! Classic liberal all the way! I know it seems like I remind you guys ’bout this a lot but that’s only ‘cuz I’m such a shill for the Dems you’d probably just think I was a run of the mill Team Blue leftist if I didn’t tell yas otherwise! ;-D

      3. http://www.buzzfeed.com/zekejm…..are-reform

        Obama is doing it all for Christ Shrike. No wonder you love him so much.

        1. I AM SECULAR, DAMN IT! SO THIS OFFENDS ME, I SWEAR!

          (But Barry’s just soooo dreamy…)

          1. hahahaha Obama is so smart to act like he is a Christfag. But I know he’s not really, because he’s a smart guy!

            1. Yeah, he’s so fucking smart, he’s a regular Einstern.

        2. OK – you caught him being all Christiany on Prayer Day.

          Plying the rubes is a learned political skill. Reagan was the master (he hated to go to church but used the morons whenever he could).

          1. He is a devout Christian Shrike. His wife is especially devout. And she runs the house. Face it, you spend your days swooning over and defending a Christfag.

        3. Oh hell, you beat me to it.

          I think we can probably close the books on Shameless Lie of the Millenium:

          The president said he often falls to his knees in prayer

          1. I don’t know that that is a lie. He might be that devout. there are a lot of religious leftists out there.

    2. Sorry,

      I like both a lot! But I am a classic liberal and not a conservative.

  17. In a world where the media takes Mitt Romney’s sentences completely out of context (“I don’t care about poor people,” “I like being able to fire people,” etc.) and runs with them as if its something newsworthy, I kind of understand SCOTUS’ reluctance.

    1. I 100% agree with Adam.

      Can you imagine what the media would do to if Citizens United had been televised? Using half quotes to push their propaganda would be a foreseeable consequence.

    2. “Corporations are people”

  18. This is why no one takes libertarians seriously! You all have no respect for out laws, our officials, and our institutions. I came to Reason to learn about politics, and every thread devolves into a 7th Grade barf contest. Grow up!

  19. The Supreme Court is only trying to protect us from the grandstanding of the Justices themselves. Honestly, who wants to see Ginsberg or Kagan sporting a low cut robe for the cameras or Sotomayor flashing some leg.

    1. Imagine the male justice’s inability to avoid making “gun show” jokes while flexing during the Heller or McDonald cases.

      1. Or how about in an attempt to suck up to Scalia, the attorney’s asking him if he needs some bandages because he’s obviously so “cut.”

  20. Meh. Its their Court, they can do what they want with it.

    If they don’t want the teevee, more power to them. I suspect they realize that it would damage their legitimacy in the long run, because the only bits anyone would actually see would be out-of-context soundbites.

  21. How would video enhance public understanding? You can listen to or read all oral arguments, briefs, orders, and opinions right now. I don’t see how watching them talk would add anything at all.

    1. Agreed. I find reading political speeches is far better than watching or listening. For recordkeeping or entertainment it might be worthwhile, but I greatly prefer reading to watching or listening. I’m getting quite tired of the trend on the web to just link a video. The internet used to have an advantage in its lack of video. Now it’s all too common for news sites to just have a video report.

    2. Concur. It is not as if there is a) a lack of transparency or b) a clamoring public just dying to not hear Clarence Thomas.

  22. No TV please, but how about letting the robed ones provide running commentary on Twitter?

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