Senate Bill Would Require SCOTUS to Televise ObamaCare Hearings


By Hadley Heath

Tuesday Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., introduced the "Cameras in the Courtroom Act of 2011" that would require the Supreme Court to televise their public proceedings.  If passed, it could require the televising of the five and a half hours of oral arguments on the Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.  

Sen. Grassley sent Chief Justice Roberts a letter on November 15 asking to allow for live video coverage of the arguments.  An article on Grassley's Web site reports that:

Grassley said that broadcasting the health care reform law proceedings would not only contribute to the public’s understanding of America’s judicial system, but provide an excellent educational opportunity on a case that has the potential to have a far reaching impact on every American.

But others are wary of allowing cameras in the courtroom.  This is unprecedented for the Supreme Court, the only of the three branches of the federal government that was designed to be sheltered from public opinion. (After all, justices are appointed, not elected.)  

Some fear that broadcasting the hearings of the Court would change the style of argument and questioning in the Courtroom as lawyers - and justices - could be tempted to cater to the court of public opinion, or to adopt a presentation style that lends itself to TV media coverage.

Still others believe the "Cameras in the Courtroom Act" could be unconstitutional itself.  This would prompt a Merry-Go-Round of government, as a challenge to the Constitutionality of such a video-mandate would land itself before... the Supreme Court.

Importantly, should Grassley and Durbin's Act pass, the Supreme Court could still prevent the broadcast of the health care lawsuit hearings, should they decide, by a vote of the majority of justices, that doing so would violate the due process rights of one or more of the parties before the Court.


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