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Roberts skeptical of televising Supreme Court oral arguments

[JURIST] US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts [OYEZ profile] on Thursday expressed skepticism at the idea of allowing television cameras into Supreme Court proceedings, saying that the justices are concerned that cameras could have an "adverse impact" on the Court's functioning. Roberts reminded advocates of televised Supreme Court sessions that the purpose of oral arguments is to educate the justices on the facts of the dispute before them, not to educate the public on how the Court works. Roberts gave his first public comments on televised oral arguments since his confirmation hearings last September during a question-and-answer session at the annual conference [PDF press release] of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals [official website]. Justices Thomas and Kennedy in April spoke against [JURIST report] legislation intended to bring cameras into the courtroom, and Justice Breyer spoke against televising the oral arguments of criminal cases [JURIST report] during a 2005 ABA symposium.

Roberts also advocated higher salaries for federal judges, noting that the low pay relative to private sector practice deters some of the nation's best lawyers from serving on the federal bench. Roberts' 2005 year-end report [PDF text] on the federal judiciary raised similar concerns [JURIST report]. The San Francisco Chronicle has more.

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