Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) has introduced bipartisan legislation to permit television coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court to give the public more access to the high court's deliberations. Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) is the original cosponsor.
Connolly's Cameras in the Courtroom Act -- H.R. 96 -- would permit television coverage of all open sessions of the U.S. Supreme Court unless a majority of justices decided that allowing coverage of a particular case would violate the due process rights of a party appearing before the court.
"Currently, cameras are barred from the Supreme Court, and the court allocates only 50 seats to view open proceedings," Connolly said. "This limited seating suggests an elitism and propensity of secrecy unworthy of the third branch of our government. Cameras in the courtroom would bring a higher degree of transparency and accountability to the high court, and would give the public better access to deliberations on the important issues that come before the court."
Connolly added, "We live in a time where information transfer from across the globe is near instantaneous, where a hand-held cell phone can provide world-wide video conferencing, yet access to momentous deliberations in the Supreme Court on cases like Bush v. Gore, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Kelo v. City of New London, and the debate on provisions of the Affordable Care Act is limited to a few dozen citizens."
"This is not a Democratic or Republican bill," Connolly said. "It is a bill to bring sunshine into the high court's deliberations and give the public direct access to the arguments pro and con that come before the Supreme Court on important constitutional issues that affect every American. It would provide our citizens with a clear view of the court's proceedings, unfettered by the filter of the media and other observers."