Bipartisan bill would require Supreme Court to allow television coverage of open sessions

"This bipartisan bill shines a light into the Judicial Branch of government so more than just a few hundred lucky Americans can watch proceedings in the Court's historic halls,” Sen. Dick Durbin said in a statement.

Updated: March 18, 2021 - 8:03pm

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Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin of Illinois and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley of Iowa have introduced the Cameras in the Courtroom Act which would mandate that the nation's high court allow television coverage of open sessions, with an exception for cases in which a majority of justices vote that airing such a proceeding would breach the due process rights of a party before the Court.

Spectators are already permitted to observe open high court sessions in person, but a press release about the bill says that people often cannot watch due to a limited quantity of unreserved seating. 

The bill has bipartisan backing as Grassley is a Republican and Durbin is a Democrat. Along with those two lawmakers, Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota are cosponsoring the bill.

"Decisions made by the Supreme Court can resonate with our nation for generations, yet most Americans will never have a chance to see the highest court in action. Opening up the Supreme Court's public proceedings to cameras and other broadcast tools provides a window into the court for all Americans, not just those in Washington, D.C. I'm proud to support this legislation especially as we celebrate Sunshine Week," Grassley said in a statement.

“It's time to put cameras in the Supreme Court so Americans can finally see deliberations and rulings on cases which will affect them for generations to come. This bipartisan bill shines a light into the Judicial Branch of government so more than just a few hundred lucky Americans can watch proceedings in the Court's historic halls,” Durbin said in a statement.

Such legislation has been introduced multiple times in the past.