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Bill allowing cameras in Supreme Court to pass soon, senators predict

[JURIST] Several members of the US Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] predicted in a hearing [agenda and testimony] Wednesday that a bill [text] to allow the televising of US Supreme Court proceedings will soon be passed by Congress. The bill would require that Supreme Court proceedings be broadcast unless a majority of justices voted no in an individual case, and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), committee chairman, said that the coverage would put "legitimate pressure" on the Court. Specter has criticized the Court for overturning federal statutes in language insulting to Congress, and he said Wednesday that "Americans would be flabbergasted" by the Court's disrespect of Congress. The Committee also heard testimony on a second proposed bill, the Sunshine in the Courtroom Act of 2005 (S. 829) [text], which would give federal appellate and trial judges the option of allowing cameras in their court rooms. US Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain, from the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, testified [prepared remarks] that the Ninth Circuit has had few problems since television access was allowed in 1991, saying that neither judges nor lawyers have shown a greater tendency to "grandstand" before cameras. O'Scannlain, however, also presented written testimony [PDF text] on behalf of the Judicial Conference of the United States [official website], which opposes S. 829 as applied to federal trial courts. The Legal Times has more.

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