I am reminded of Chicken Little’s famous mantra as I listen to some Supreme Court Justices’ reactions to the prospect of televising oral arguments. Their fears—such as Justice Kennedy’s warning that allowing cameras in the courtroom may change the Court’s dynamics—are, in my opinion, overblown. And some comments, most notably Justice Souter’s famous exclamation in a 1996 House subcommittee hearing that “the day you see a camera come into our courtroom, it’s going to roll over my dead body,” make it sound as if the Justices have forgotten that our nation’s court system belongs to the public, not merely the nine Justices who sit atop it. I write this essay in order to give my own perspective. Having served as a judge on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals for nearly twenty-eight years, I believe that I am in a unique position to understand the concerns raised by televising oral arguments. I can make this guarantee—televising the Supreme Court’s oral arguments will not produce the disastrous results predicted by some frightened Justices; rather, it will yield positive results. Most notably, it will increase the public’s knowledge of the appellate process.
Boyce F. Martin Jr.,
Gee Whiz, the Sky Is Falling!,
Mich. L. Rev. First Impressions
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr_fi/vol106/iss1/31