Durbin, Grassley call for cameras in the Supreme Court

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With the Supreme Court expected to hand down major rulings in the coming days, Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley introduced legislation Thursday to require the open court proceedings be televised.

“Decisions made by the Supreme Court impact the lives of Americans in every corner of the country, but their proceedings often don’t reach beyond the four walls of the court room,” Durbin explained.

In the coming days the Supreme Court is expected to hand down decisions on affirmative action, gay marriage and the Voting Rights Act.

“The accountability, transparency and openness that this bill would create would help increase understanding of, and appreciation for, the highest court in the land and the decisions the court makes,” Grassley said.

Durbin and Grassley’s bill, the Cameras in the Courtroom Act of 2013, would require all open sessions of the court to be televised, unless a majority of justices believe doing so would be a violation of the due process rights of one or more of the parties before the court.

According to Grassley’s office, similar bills were passed with bipartisan majorities in the Judiciary Committee in the last two Congresses.

Tuesday, Durbin wrote a letter to Chief Justice John Roberts calling for the final week of the current Supreme Court term to feature live audio of the proceedings.

“I continue to believe that the Court should permit live video broadcasts, and I will reintroduce bipartisan legislation to make that happen,” Durbin wrote. “There are some who oppose putting cameras in the Supreme Court. That is a debate I welcome. There is, however, no legitimate reason for the Court not to immediately permit live audio broadcasts of its proceedings.”

Thursday’s bipartisan bill includes Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn and Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal as original cosponsors.

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