Time for the Supreme Court to be televised

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The Supreme Court is taking an unprecedented step toward greater accessibility this month. Beginning May 4, the Court has been livestreaming its oral arguments (all of which will take place over the telephone). Finally, millions of Americans will be given insight into the Court's deliberations. If all goes well, when the Court meets in person once again, it should go one step further — by allowing its proceedings to be recorded and televised. Taking such a step will allow for a better-informed public, and more transparency will strengthen the Court's legitimacy.

Cameras have been banned in the Supreme Court since 1946, and the prospect of their introduction has usually been met with distaste by the justices. For instance, Justice Souter once famously remarked that TV cameras would have to be rolled into the Court "over his dead body." But the actual threat to the sanctity of the judicial process that TV cameras pose has been greatly exaggerated.

...the actual threat to the sanctity of the judicial process that TV cameras pose has been greatly exaggerated.

One of the biggest arguments put forward by opponents of televised proceedings is that cameras will cause questioning during oral arguments to devolve into the sort of show trial many congressional hearings turn into, complete with grandstanding, quips and pithy one-liners. But the introduction of television cameras into the courtroom wouldn't change the way the justices act.

It's not as though the justices have ever really shied away from grandstanding, quips and pithy one-liners. For instance, during oral arguments for Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky, Justice Alito gave an attorney arguing to uphold a ban on political attire in voting stations a roasting that would put even the most sharp-tongued congressperson to shame, and on the liberal side of the bench, Justice Sotomayor is known for her own aggressive style of questioning.

But unlike members of Congress, the justices aren't up for reelection. They don't need to toe a party line, come up with sound bites off of which to fundraise, or worry about getting primaried. This is by design, and in Federalist No. 78, Alexander Hamilton remarked how such lifetime appointments, on the condition of good behavior, were necessary "to secure a steady, upright, and impartial administration of the laws." The introduction of TV cameras wouldn't destroy this carefully-crafted separation of powers, nor would it compel the Court to act more like a legislative body attuned to ever-shifting public opinion.

It's not like the justice's questions aren't available to the public, anyway. Provided they get in line soon enough, visitors are allowed to view oral arguments, and audio recordings have been accessible online since 1999. The justices already know that they're being recorded, and the mere addition of a visual component does nothing to change that.

Televised oral arguments will lead to a more-informed public.

Televised oral arguments will lead to a more-informed public. Even today, many members of the public, for example, don't know that Citizens United was a First Amendment case and think you can't say fire in a crowded theater. Stripped of the complex constitutional and legal issues at stake in the cases, people root for substantive outcomes based on their political inclinations and believe that the justices basically act as a glorified legislature.

Televised proceedings will expose more Americans to issues of precedent and legal philosophy and better demonstrate the functional differences between the legislative and judicial departments. While this of course could be done through one's own reading or listening to the audio recordings, most Americans clearly have a preference for television. Indeed, in 2018, Nielsen found that the average American adult watches six hours of video per day, whereas the average adult only spends less than half an hour reading per day.

However, when it comes to educating the public, greater media exposure can cut both ways. As pointed out by the late Justice Scalia, once media outlets get their hands on visual recordings of the justices, they are free to run them through the spin machine, taking quotes out of context and reducing entire opinions to 15-second snippets. This would be a good point if this weren't already the status quo. Media personalities already reduce entire opinions to a few sentences and use bad-faith arguments to admonish justices for decisions with which they disagree.

All else being equal, video recording of Court proceedings would be worth it, even for those few diligent citizens.

At the end of the day, giving the media actual video to work with won't make much of a difference. And even Scalia recognized that there will be some Americans willing to sit through and watch proceedings "gavel to gavel." All else being equal, video recording of Court proceedings would be worth it, even for those few diligent citizens.

Finally, allowing video cameras in federal courtrooms is not without precedent. Television cameras are ubiquitous in state supreme courts across the country. According to a report by the Federal Judicial Center (FJC) on a pilot program allowing cameras in federal district courts in the 1990s, the presence of cameras did not affect the behavior of judges, lawyers, witnesses, or jurors. The Covid-19 pandemic now provides the Supreme Court with an opportunity to see if this holds true at the highest level.

History is made every time the Supreme Court comes into session. Americans deserve to see it happen.

Michael Rieger is a student at Georgetown University Law Center and a contributor for Young Voices. Follow him on Twitter at @EagerRieger.

Faced with an oppressive government that literally burned people at the stake for printing Bibles, America's original freedom fighters risked it all for the same rights our government is starting to trample now. That's not the Pilgrim story our woke schools and corporate media will tell you. It's the truth, and it sounds a lot more like today's heroes in Afghanistan than the 1619 Project's twisted portrait of America.

This Thanksgiving season, Glenn Beck and WallBuilders president Tim Barton tell the full story of who the Pilgrims really were and what we must learn from them, complete with a sneak peek at the largest privately owned collection of Pilgrim artifacts.

Watch the video below

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Saule Omarova, President Joe Biden's nominee for comptroller of the currency, admitted she wants to fight climate change by bankrupting coal, oil, and gas companies. Alarmingly, Biden's U.S. special climate envoy, John Kerry, seemed to agree with Omarova when he said "by 2030 in the United States, we won't have coal" at the COP26 conference in Glasgow, Scotland, earlier this month. But that could end in massive electrical blackouts and brownouts across the nation, BlazeTV host Glenn Beck warned.

Carol Roth, author of "The War On Small Business," joined "The Glenn Beck Program" to explain what experts say you can do now to prepare your family for potential coming power outages.

"It's interesting. Usually when I go out and talk to experts in areas that are not 100% core to my area of expertise and I say, 'I would like to give you credit.' Usually I get, 'OK, here's how you credit me.' But everyone is like, 'No, no. Let me tell you what happened, just don't use my name.' And this is across the country," Roth said. "This isn't just a California issue, which obviously [California] is leading the nation. But even experts out of Texas, people who are monitoring the electric grid are incredibly concerned about brownouts or blackouts now, already. So forget about 2030."

"You want to have a backup source of power," she continued. "Either a propane, diesel, or combo generator is something that you're going to want to have. Because in a state, for example like Texas, I'm told that once the state loses power, it will take a minimum of two weeks to restore plants back to operations and customers able to use grid power again. So, this isn't something that we've got nine years or whatever to be thinking about. We should be planning and preparing now."

Watch the video clip below to catch more of this important conversation:

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This year marks the four hundredth anniversary of the first Thanksgiving celebrated by the Pilgrims and their Wampanoag allies in 1621. Tragically, nearly half of the Pilgrims had died by famine and disease during their first year. However, they had been met by native Americans such as Samoset and Squanto who miraculously spoke English and taught the Pilgrims how to survive in the New World. That fall the Pilgrims, despite all the hardships, found much to praise God for and they were joined by Chief Massasoit and his ninety braves came who feasted and celebrated for three days with the fifty or so surviving Pilgrims.

It is often forgotten, however, that after the first Thanksgiving everything was not smooth sailing for the Pilgrims. Indeed, shortly thereafter they endured a time of crop failure and extreme difficulties including starvation and general lack. But why did this happen? Well, at that time the Pilgrims operated under what is called the "common storehouse" system. In its essence it was basically socialism. People were assigned jobs and the fruits of their labor would be redistributed throughout the people not based on how much work you did but how much you supposedly needed.

The problem with this mode of economics is that it only fails every time. Even the Pilgrims, who were a small group with relatively homogeneous beliefs were unable to successfully operate under a socialistic system without starvation and death being only moments away. Governor William Bradford explained that under the common storehouse the people began to "allege weakness and inability" because no matter how much or how little work someone did they still were given the same amount of food. Unsurprisingly this, "was found to breed much confusion and discontent."[1]

The Pilgrims, however, were not the type of people to keep doing what does not work. And so, "they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery."[2] And, "after much debate of things" the Pilgrims under the direction of William Bradford, decided that each family ought to "trust to themselves" and keep what they produced instead of putting it into a common storehouse.[3] In essence, the Pilgrims decided to abandon the socialism which had led them to starvation and instead adopt the tenants of the free market.

And what was the result of this change? Well, according to Bradford, this change of course, "had very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been."[4] Eventually, the Pilgrims became a fiscally successful colony, paid off their enormous debt, and founded some of the earliest trading posts with the surrounding Indian tribes including the Aptucxet, Metteneque, and Cushnoc locations. In short, it represented one of the most significant economic revolutions which determined the early characteristics of the American nation.

The Pilgrims, of course, did not simply invent these ideas out of thin air but they instead grew out of the intimate familiarity the Pilgrims had with the Bible. The Scriptures provide clear principles for establishing a successful economic system which the Pilgrims looked to. For example, Proverbs 12:11 says, "He that tills his land shall be satisfied with bread." So the Pilgrims purchased land from the Indians and designated lots for every family to individually grow food for themselves. After all, 1 Timothy 5:8 declares, "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."

We often think that the battle against Socialism is a new fight sprouting out of the writings of Karl Marx which are so blindly and foolishly followed today by those deceived by leftist irrationality. However, America's fight against the evil of socialism goes back even to our very founding during the colonial period. Thankfully, our forefathers decided to reject the tenants of socialism and instead build their new colony upon the ideology of freedom, liberty, hard work, and individual responsibility.

So, this Thanksgiving, let's thank the Pilgrims for defeating socialism and let us look to their example today in our ongoing struggle for freedom.

[1] William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1856), 135.

[2] William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1856), 134.

[3] William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1856), 134.

[4] William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1856), 135.

Like most people, biologist and science journalist Matt Ridley just wants the truth. When it comes to the origin of COVID-19, that is a tall order. Was it human-made? Did it leak from a laboratory? What is the role of gain-of-function research? Why China, why now?

Ridley's latest book, "Viral: The Search for the Origin of COVID-19," is a scientific quest to answer these questions and more. A year ago, you would have been kicked off Facebook for suggesting COVID originated in a lab. For most of the pandemic, the left practically worshipped Dr. Anthony Fauci. But lately, people have been poking around. And one of the names that appears again and again is Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance and a longtime collaborator and funder of the virus-hunting work at Wuhan Institute of Virology.

If you watched Glenn Beck's special last week, "Crimes or Cover-Up? Exposing the World's Most Dangerous Lie," you learned some very disturbing things about what our government officials — like Dr. Fauci — were doing around the beginning of the pandemic. On the latest "Glenn Beck Podcast," Glenn sat down with Ridley to review what he and "Viral" co-author Alina Chan found while researching — including a "fascinating little wrinkle" from the Wuhan Institute of Virology called "7896."

Watch the video clip below or find the full interview with Matt Ridley here:

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