Grassley joins request for live coverage of Supreme Court rulings

Justice 1From Press Release


Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley joined a bipartisan, bicameral group of colleagues asking Chief Justice John Roberts to provide live audio coverage of the landmark Supreme Court rulings on the Affordable Care Act and same-sex marriage.

Grassley is a long-time advocate for improving public access to the federal judiciary and is the author of bipartisan legislation that would allow cameras in federal courts.

“Live broadcasting of these landmark cases would not only contribute to the public’s understanding of America’s judicial system, but provide an excellent educational opportunity on cases of national significance,” Grassley said.  “Granting the public greater access to these proceedings will inspire greater faith in and appreciation for the federal judiciary.”

Grassley first introduced the Cameras in the Courtroom legislation in 1999.  The Sunshine in the Courtroom bill was introduced in this Congress on March 18. The bill grants the presiding judge in all federal courts, including the Supreme Court, the discretion to allow cameras in the courtroom while protecting the identities of witnesses and jurors when necessary or upon request. It also prohibits media coverage of private conversations between clients and counsel, between opposing attorneys, and between counsel and the presiding judge. The bill contains a three-year sunset provision, requiring Congress to evaluate how media access is impacting the judiciary.

In the past, the Chief Justice has immediately released audio of oral arguments of compelling cases.  The first release came when, at the request of Grassley and Senator Chuck Schumer, then Chief Justice William Rehnquist permitted the release of audio immediately following oral arguments in the Florida election matter in 2000.  Since then, Chief Justice John Roberts has released audio recordings the same day of the oral arguments for dozens of cases, including Grutter v. Bollinger, D.C. v. Heller, the Guantanamo cases and Citizens United.

A copy of the signed letter can be found here.