President Trump’s possibly unconstitutional ban on the entry of people from seven predominantly Muslim countries into this nation is likely headed for the Supreme Court. As the Feb. 8 editorial “Justice in full view” pointed out, thanks to technology, any member of the American public could witness the oral arguments in District Court Judge James L. Robart’s court and listen to the arguments in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
When this case almost certainly comes before the Supreme Court, perhaps as few as 50 members of the general public will have the privilege of viewing these immensely consequential deliberations. Surely the reality-star-turned-president, whose obsession with ratings is well-known, would support live broadcast of Supreme Court proceedings. Our nation’s highest court is not some mystical priesthood that can operate outside of the public view. Despite what some might say, cameras wouldn’t diminish the court to a “Judge Judy” episode. But they would bring accountability and transparency to the judicial branch, something the public overwhelmingly supports. That’s why I’ve reintroduced bipartisan legislation with Rep. Ted Poe (R-Tex.) that would direct the Supreme Court to allow television coverage of all open sessions unless a majority of justices agrees that doing so would violate due-process rights. It’s time we put cameras in the court.
Gerald E. Connolly, Washington
The writer, a Democrat, represents Virginia’s
11th Congressional District in the U.S. House.
If the courts have a chance of remaining the churches of our secular civic religion, lawyers and judges should not be put in the position of having to worry about or — sadly, more likely — seek out being made into a “meme.”
James L. Johnsen, Arlington