The Washington Post

Supreme Court should televise health-care ruling senators say

(Evan Vucci/AP)

Renewing a request made almost every year to the high court to televise decisions, leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee wrote to Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr. Monday asking that he permit live TV coverage of the health-care ruling because “the issues in the case are as important and consequential as any in recent Court history.”

“Given the fundamental constitutional questions raised and the effects the decision will have, the Court should be aware of the great interest Americans have in the outcome of this case,” Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote in a letter to Roberts. Leahy is chairman of the judiciary panel and Grassley is the ranking Republican.

“Broadcasting the Court’s ruling would permit millions of citizens the opportunity to view what so few can from the court’s small and limited public gallery,” the senators wrote. “Modern technology makes televising the proceedings simple and unobtrusive. A minimal number of cameras in the courtroom, which could be placed to be barely noticeable to all participants, would provide live coverage of what may be one of the most historic rulings of our time. We believe permitting the nation to watch the proceedings would bolster public confidence in our judicial system and in the decisions of the Court.”

But the Supreme Court already declined this year to permit TV coverage of oral arguments in the health-care case and instead released “same-day audio” of the proceedings. C-SPAN and other news outlets have pushed the court for years to allow TV cameras in the court room, but the requests have always been denied.

In an effort to prod the justices along, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill earlier this year that would require the high court to permit live TV broadcasts.

Agree or disagree with the senators? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

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Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.


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