Greg Beato on Cameras in the Court


Credit: Ervins Strauhmanis

In early March, in anticipation of imminent Supreme Court hearings on cases involving the Affordable Care Act and gay marriage, a group called Fix the Court bought airtime on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and Comedy Central to promote a long-standing dream of open-government advocates: to make the Supreme Court's "biggest decisions" at least as accessible to the American public as Seinfeld reruns, Swiffer commercials, and weather forecasts. These activists want to televise the Supreme Court.

In an era when the possibility of body-camming every police enforcement of local jaywalking laws is in play, the Supreme Court's refusal to allow greater public access to its proceedings is increasingly at odds with contemporary standards and expectations of government openness, Greg Beato explains. Televising oral arguments would afford the general public greater insight into how the Court operates and allow it to participate more fully in the decisions that end up shaping life in the U.S.