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Supreme Court Justice David Souter once warned that TV cameras would enter the Court to record hearings “over my dead body.” Souter need not worry just yet, but the Senate Judiciary Committee recently approved a bill requiring camera access in most cases. The committee split 11-7 in the Dec. 12 vote, with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) urging Congress not to tell the high court how to “run their business.” But leading sponsor Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said the time has come: “If information can be safely made open and broadcast to the public, it should be.” The bill would require the Court to allow broadcast unless a majority of justices object to it in an individual case. The legislation faces an uncertain fate on the Senate floor next year. C-SPAN, which has pledged to air Court arguments as it does with Congress, is not holding its breath. “C-SPAN would certainly welcome the ability to televise Supreme Court arguments,” says C-SPAN Vice President Bruce Collins, a longtime advocate. “But we’re very aware that this legislation could get hung up on issues between Congress and the Court having nothing to do with whether the cameras should come in.”
Tony Mauro can be contacted at [email protected].

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