On the News

Barrett Has ‘Open Mind’ on Televising Supreme Court

Judge Amy Coney Barrett told the Senate Judiciary Committee she would “keep an open mind” about the prospect of admitting TV cameras to the Supreme Court — a subject that divides the justices, NPR reports. Barrett spoke to senior Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who has long supported more visibility into the high court’s proceedings, including proposed legislation that would permit C-SPAN-like coverage of federal courts if judges chose. Grassley said he didn’t expect the matter to be resolved “in my lifetime,” but he stood by his long-held position that showing the workings of the court would help the public better understand the judiciary. The high court has resisted that move, although it does release audio recordings of oral arguments and admits journalists and audience members. In May, the court livestreamed audio of arguments for the first time.

Another Republican, Nebraska’s Ben Sasse, said he thought the court’s current practices were appropriate. Admitting TV coverage would lead to a lot of “nonsense,” Sasse said. He said he agreed with Grassley it’s a good idea for the Supreme Court to reach out more to the public, doing so with live coverage would be a “bad idea.” Defenders of the court’s current policy point to the bad effect that TV cameras have had elsewhere in Washington, at White House press briefings and in Congress. Barrett completed her testimony Wednesday. The committee will hear Thursday from outside witnesses and is planning to vote next Thursday on her nomination. By a party-line vote, the committee defeated an attempt by Democrats to delay confirmation until after the election. “I see that this goose is pretty much cooked,” said Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ).