[JURIST] US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito [JURIST news archive; OYEZ profile] on Friday became the latest high court member to publicly criticize the possibility of televising the court's proceedings. Speaking at the University of Virginia, Alito joked that televising the proceedings would be a mistake since it would directly compete with cable public affairs broadcaster C-SPAN for the lowest Nielsen ratings. Last July US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts [OYEZ profile] similarly expressed skepticism at the idea of allowing television cameras into the Supreme Court, saying that the justices were concerned that cameras could have an "adverse impact" on the Court's functioning. All the other justices, including Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Stephen Breyer and David Souter have already spoken publicly against allowing cameras [AP report] in the Supreme Court, pointing out that the Court's decisional process is on paper and suggesting that court proceedings should not be considered "entertainment."
In March of last year the US Senate Judiciary Committee under the leadership of Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) [official websites] approved by a 12-6 vote an amendment [S. 1768 text, PDF] to 28 USC 45 [text] that would permit Supreme Court proceedings to be televised, "unless the Court decides by a vote of the majority of justices, that allowing such coverage in a particular case would constitute a violation of the due process rights of 1 or more of the parties before the Court." The bill failed to pass the Senate itself, however. San Luis Obispo has more.