After sailing through the subcommittee in late December, last Thursday by a vote of 11-7 the full Senate Judiciary Committee passed on to the full chamber a bill that would permit televising proceedings of the U.S. Supreme Court.
As the matter stands today, only a handful of observers are permitted to observe the hearings live, while audio recordings of the cases are released to the public at the conclusion of the proceedings.
The bill would not mandate that all proceedings be broadcast, however.
Senators Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) have cosponsored the proposal, known as the Cameras in the Courtroom Act of 2011. The measure was introduced on December 5, 10 years after the Sunshine in the Courtroom Act was authored by Senator Grassley and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
A companion bill of identical name was introduced in the House the following day by Representative Gerry Connolly (D-Va.). That bill is currently under consideration by the House Judiciary Committee.
As highlighted above, the legislation, if passed by both houses and signed by the President, would "permit television coverage of all open sessions of the Court 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."
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