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.

As the Senate prepares for former President Trump's second impeachment trial, many are asking whether it's constitutional to try a president after leaving office. Alan Dershowitz, lawyer and host of the of "The Dershow," joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to talk about the legal battles Trump still faces.

Dershowitz said he believes the Senate doesn't have the authority to convict Trump, now that he's a private citizen again, and thus can't use impeachment to bar him from running for office again.

"The Constitution says the purpose of impeachment is to remove somebody. He [Trump] is out of office. There's nothing left to do.
It doesn't say you can impeach him to disqualify him for the future. It says, if you remove him you can then add disqualification, but you can't just impeach somebody to disqualify them," Dershowitz said.

"The Senate can't try ordinary citizens. So once you're an ordinary citizen, you get tried only in the courts, not in the Senate. So it's clearly unconstitutional," he added.

Dershowitz, who served on Trump's legal team during the first impeachment trial, also discussed whether he thinks Trump is legally (or even just ethically) responsible for the Capitol riot earlier this month, and whether those engaging in violence could be considered "domestic terrorists."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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A new, shocking CBS News poll shows that the majority of Americans believe they're facing a new enemy: other Americans.

More than two-thirds of poll respondents said they believe democracy in the U.S. is "threatened," and 54% said "other people in America" are the "biggest threat to the American way of life," rather than economic factors, viruses, natural disasters, or foreign actors.

Will it be possible to unite our nation with statistics like that? On "The Glenn Beck Radio Program," Glenn and Stu discussed the poll numbers and what they mean for our future.

Watch the video clip below:

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Countless leaders on the left are now arguing that removing President Donald Trump from office won't be enough — they're now calling for the president's "cult-like" supporters to be "deprogrammed." And it's not just fringe politicians.

During an appearance on "Real Time with Bill Maher" last week, former NBC anchor Katie Couric said, "The question is, how are we going to really almost deprogram these people who have signed up for the cult of Trump."

Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi questioned whether the nation needs "a 9/11-type commission" to determine whether President Trump was colluding with Russian President Vladimir Putin "the day that the insurgents invaded our Capitol." Clinton also made sure to include her favorite "deplorables" in her unsubstantiated conspiracy theory:

"But we now know that not just [Trump] but his enablers, his accomplices, his cult members, have the same disregard for democracy," Clinton said to Pelosi.

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson and New York Times Magazine's Nikole Hannah-Jones agreed that there is a need for "millions of Americans, almost all white, almost all Republicans" to be deprogrammed and punished, during an MSNBC interview last week.

Now, a story from the Washington Post is also preaching that narrative and even added that we need more restrictions for conservatives on social media and in the broadcast industry.

"So now we have to be deprogrammed? We've heard this over and over and over and over again, for months," said Glenn Beck on the radio program Tuesday. He read through the shocking details of the Washington Post op-ed and discussed the extraordinary dangers of the latest anti-conservative movement in America.

Watch the video below:

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As calls for censorship and restrictions against conservative voices get louder, Glenn Beck said he feels an "awesome responsibility" to speak, not the words he'd personally like to say, but those he believes the Lord would want him to share.

"It's an awesome responsibility, and one that I am not worthy of," Glenn said. "I want to say ... what He wants me to say. And I have to listen very carefully, because I feel the same way you do. But that will get us nowhere."

Glenn said it's time for Americans who are awake — not woke — to come together, no matter which side of the political aisle you're on, and stand with the truth.

"We are the Alamo, we will stand. But we desperately, desperately need you," Glenn said. "We need the people who are awake — not woke — awake. You may disagree with us. We are your allies, not your enemies. And if you will not stand with us in our hour of need, there will be no one left to stand with you in your hour of need. We must all come together, anyone who is awake."

Watch the video below to hear more from Glenn:

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