January 6, 2012

Newsday calls for cameras in the Supreme Court

With a host of important court cases still remaining in the 2011-2012 term, Newsday is calling on the Supreme Court to begin televising its proceedings:
The time has come for the nine justices, who have life tenure and are anonymous to most of the public, to drop the court's historic cloak of secrecy on a public process. ...

One of our most important traditions is our open courtrooms. Allowing the public to witness the justice system at work contributes to its understanding of the law, the Constitution, the courts and the complex legal disputes they resolve. It's the best way to showcase the rigor the Supreme Court brings to the task, help the public understand its reasoning and maintain the court's credibility.
Arguments made against the cameras are rather weak:
Some justices say the public cannot be trusted to understand what goes on at oral arguments and how the arguments figure in the work of the court. Others worry that additional public scrutiny would alter the behavior of lawyers and justices for the worse. Still others say they fear harm to their personal privacy or to the court’s prestige.
Perhaps the public would understand the Court better if they were able to watch its proceedings.

It's time for the Supreme Court to shed its cherished secrecy and embrace transparency and accountability.