Cameras in courtroom would benefit system

-- The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa - June 8

Posted: Thursday, June 14, 2001

The audio broadcast of the U.S. Supreme Court's ''Battle for Florida'' (Gore vs. Bush hearing) last December was historic, suspenseful and informative. But a video broadcast would have been even more enlightening and memorable.

So it is encouraging to see Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., introduce the Sunshine in the Courtroom Act, a bipartisan bill allowing federal and appellate judges, solely at their discretion, to permit cameras in the courtroom. ...

Grassley ... made a good case for openness in the legislation's unveiling ... before the Supreme Court: ''The best way to maintain confidence and a better understanding of the judicial system, where the federal judiciary has tremendous power, is to let the sun shine in by opening up the courtroom to public scrutiny through broadcasting. This bipartisan initiative is consistent with the plan the Founders of our nation set forth for judicial proceedings with trials held in front of as many people as who may attend.'' ...

Someday will come unobtrusive, unedited TV coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court. When it does, practically everyone will wonder why it wasn't allowed sooner.

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