Let Cameras Shine on the Supreme Court

Monday, October 31, 2005

I commend and wholeheartedly support The Post's Oct. 27 editorial calling for televised Supreme Court hearings. The late Justice Louis Brandeis is famous for having said, "Sunshine is the best disinfectant."

Television offers that sunshine to the courts, ensuring that the proceedings of the judiciary come to light and that the public gains confidence from the exposure.

Indeed, the antiquated arguments for keeping cameras out of the Supreme Court do not stand up in the 21st century. While we don't expect to be privy to the justices' closed-door deliberations, we are entitled to see and hear the arguments presented before the court on crucial issues that affect the lives of millions of Americans.

So it was a breath of fresh air when Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said during his confirmation hearings that unlike his predecessor, the late William H. Rehnquist, he is open to the idea of allowing cameras in the Supreme Court. It was certainly a more refreshing and judicious response than the rather extreme statement of Justice David H. Souter that such cameras would roll in only over his "dead body."

There is a fundamental difference between being told what happened and seeing it unfiltered for yourself. I continue to believe that technological advances enable us to expand the experience of being in the courtroom to the greater community, thereby making "public trials" truly public. The highest court in the land should reverse its ban on cameras and let the sunshine in.

HENRY SCHLEIFF

Chairman and Chief Executive

Court TV

New York


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