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UK justice minister favors televising new Supreme Court proceedings: report

[JURIST] UK Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor Jack Straw [official profile] favors televising proceedings of the UK Supreme Court, the Times reported Monday. The new top court, created by the Constitutional Reform Act of 2005 [text], is expected to open in October 2009 and would technically replace the judicial panel of the House of Lords [official website] as Britain's highest tribunal, with the 12 current law lords as the first Supreme Court justices. Straw's recommendation to allow television cameras is said to be supported by senior judges and could also lead the way to televising other appeal hearings. The proposal does not, however, extend to jury trials and is still contingent on having the full backing of the judiciary. Times has more.

American political leaders and judges are similarly struggling with the issue of whether to permit televising of US Supreme Court [JURIST news archive] proceedings. In March of last year the US Senate Judiciary Committee under the leadership of Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) [official websites] approved an amendment to 28 USC 45 that would have permitted Supreme Court proceedings to be televised [JURIST report], "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. Last Friday Justice Samuel Alito [JURIST news archive; OYEZ profile] became the latest high court member to publicly criticize [JURIST report] the possibility of televising the court's proceedings. All the other justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts [JURIST report] and Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas [JURIST reports], Stephen Breyer and David Souter have already spoken publicly against allowing cameras [AP report] in the Supreme Court.

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