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Televising the Supreme Court

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. SPECTER. One other point briefly--I see a colleague awaiting an opportunity to speak--and that is my hope we will address, before the end of the year, the issue of televising the proceedings of the Supreme Court of the United States.

This is an issue I have worked on, on the Judiciary Committee, for a couple decades now. It has been reported a number of times out of committee. It is currently on the Senate agenda.

The Supreme Court of the United States decides all of the cutting edge questions. There ought to be transparency. When the case of Bush v. Gore was argued, then-Senator Biden and I wrote to the Chief Justice urging that the proceedings be televised. We got a response back in the negative, but on that day there was a simultaneous audio released. I noticed 2 weeks ago that on C-SPAN there was a Supreme Court argument which was a couple weeks old with an audio, and they had a picture of the Justice who was speaking and a picture of the lawyer arguing the case--sort of like movies before talking; sort of like silent movies. There was an audio.

It is high time the public's business be open. Newspaper reporters can walk into the Supreme Court, make notes, upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States. Visitors are limited to some 3 minutes. The chambers can only hold about 250 people. It is time the Court was televised. I hope the Senate will act. I have discussed the issue with the leadership in the House and there are positive responses on the issue.


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