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.

During his campaign, President Joe Biden survived scandal after scandal involving his son Hunter — the Ukraine/Burisma scandal, the laptop scandal, the one involving a stripper from Arkansas and a long-lost child. And yet, after it all appeared to have been swept under the rug, Hunter has now released a memoir — "Beautiful Things."

Filling in for Glenn Beck on the radio program this week, Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere discussed Hunter's "horrible" response when asked on "CBS This Morning" if the laptop seized by the FBI in 2019 belonged to him and reviewed a few segments from his new book, which they agreed raises the question: Is Hunter trying to sabotage his father's career?

Watch the video below for more:


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Countless corporations — from Delta Air Lines, Coca-Cola, and Porsche to UPS and LinkedIn — are calling out the Georgia voting laws, calling them "restrictive," "racist," and "discriminative." Meanwhile, words like "stakeholder" and "equitable" are starting to show up in their arguments.

On the radio program, Glenn Beck gave the "decoder ring" for what's really going on here, because our society is being completely redesigned in front of our eyes.

There's a reason why all these big businesses are speaking out now, and it has very little to do with genuine ideology, Glenn explained. It's all about ESG scores and forcing "compliance" through the monetization of social justice.

Glenn went on to detail exactly what ESG scores are, how they're calculated, and why these social credit scores explain the latest moves from "woke" companies.

Watch the video below to hear Glenn break it down:

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Dallas Jenkins is a storyteller — and he's telling the most important story of all time in a way that many believed was impossible.

Jenkins is the creator of "The Chosen," a free, crowdfunded series about the life of Jesus that rivals Hollywood productions. And Season 2 could not have arrived at a better time — on Easter weekend 2021. Church attendance has dropped, people are hungry for something bigger than all of us, and many are choosing social justice activism, political parties, or even the climate change movement as "religions" over God.

This Easter weekend, Jenkins joined Glenn on the "Glenn Beck Podcast" to discuss the aspects of Jesus that often get overlooked and break through the misconceptions about who Jesus really is to paint a clear picture of why America needs Emmanuel, "God with us," now more than ever.

Watch the full podcast below:

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Award-winning investigative journalist Lara Logan joined Glenn Beck on the radio program this week to argue the Biden administration's border crisis is "enabling" drug cartels, allowing them to exploit migrants, use border wall construction roads, and cross the border much more easily.

Lara, who has witnessed and experienced firsthand some of the worst violence around the world as a war correspondent for CBS News, told Glenn it's "not an overstatement" to call the cartels in Mexico "the most violent and powerful criminal organizations on the face of the earth." And while they're "at war with us, we've been asleep at the wheel."

But Lara also offers solutions that the U.S. can enact to stop these horrific atrocities.

"There's more than 30,000 Mexican civilians who are massacred every year in Mexico by the cartels. And that's just the bodies that the Mexican government owns up to or knows about, right?" Lara said. "There's Mexicans buried in unmarked mass graves all across the country. I mean, everyone knows that the violence of the cartels is not like anything anyone has ever seen before. It even pales in comparison to, at times, to what terrorist groups like ISIS have done."

Lara went on to explain some of the unspeakable acts of violence and murder that occur at the hands of the Mexican cartels — 98% of which go uninvestigated.

"That's not unprosecuted, Glenn. That's uninvestigated," Lara emphasized. "[Cartels] operate with impunity. So the law enforcement guy, the policemen, the marine, the National Guardsmen, who are trying to do the right thing, who are not in the pocket of the cartels — what chance do those guys have? They've got no chance. You know where they end up? In one of those unmarked graves."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

(Content Warning: Disturbing content)



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