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 thatCitizens 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 forYoung Voices. Follow him on Twitter at@EagerRieger.

POLL: Should Universities allow pro-Hamas protests?

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Just one day after Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel, which left over 1,400 people Israelis dead, 34 different student groups from Harvard University wrote a joint statement pinning the blame of Hamas' terrorist attack on Israel. In the following days after publishing this callous statement, these students staged a walkout and rallied in support of the Palestinians. As Glenn has discussed, this is not an isolated event, and campuses across the country have hosted similar rallies where antisemitic jargon like "we don't want no Jew state" and "globalize the intifada" is freely spewed.

Should Universities allow pro-Hamas protests?

While the Universities have not officially backed any of these rallies or student groups that organized them, they haven't stopped them either, which raises the question: should they? On one hand, these are American students in American Universities, who are protected by the First Amendment. On the other hand, history tells us how dangerous antisemitism is if left unchecked; and what of the rights of Jewish students to be safe on the campuses they pay to attend? Let us know what you think in the poll below:

Should Universities allow pro-Hamas protests? 

Would you feel safe if your child attended a University that allowed pro-Hamas protests?

 Should Universities allow pro-Israel protests?

Is pro-Hamas rhetoric protected by the First Amendment?

POLL: What do YOU think Israel should do about Gaza?

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Should Israel take over Gaza after defeating Hamas? This contentious historical question has resurfaced amid Israel's retaliatory airstrikes in Gaza following Hamas' terror attacks, which resulted in the greatest death of Jews since the Holocaust. Biden and the global elites have warned Israel against occupation of the Palestinian territory. When asked on 60 Minutes if he would support the Israeli occupation of Gaza, Biden said, “I think it would be a big mistake.” Today Glenn responded to Biden’s answer: “I don't think it's a mistake to occupy."

This has been a long-standing, polarizing issue that is now more relevant than ever, and we want to hear YOUR thoughts. Let us know in the poll below:

Would you support an Israeli occupation of Gaza?

Do you think the Israeli airstrikes in Gaza are justified?

Do you think a two-state solution is still possible?

Funding IRAN?! Here are the TOP 5 reasons Joe Biden should be IMPEACHED

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On September 12th, the House announced an official impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden with allegations of abuse of power, obstruction, and corruption. Naturally, the media quickly jumped to the President’s aid claiming that “there is no evidence to support these claims” and that the whole affair is a witch hunt.

If you’ve been listening to Glenn, you know that this is simply not the case. Biden has been committing impeachment-worthy deeds before he even stepped foot into the Oval Office—there’s no shortage of evidence to justify this inquiry. Here are 5 scathing reasons why Biden should be impeached:

He was responsible for the Afghanistan withdrawal disaster.

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The Biden administration began with the US's disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. Under his watch, Biden left thousands of US citizens and allies stranded in the Taliban's hostile regime. Countless Afghan allies have been murdered by the Taliban due to the Biden administration's negligence.

He was involved with Hunter Biden's illicit foreign business dealings.

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There is clear evidence that Joe Biden was more than aware of his son Hunter's foreign business dealings. From suspicious money laundering through the Biden family's accounts to Joe's involvement with important business meetings within Hunter's company, there is mounting evidence to warrant an impeachment inquiry.

He lied about his involvement with Hunter's business dealings.

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Not only did Biden involve himself with his son's less-than-legal foreign business ventures, but he lied to the American people about it too, claiming he had NO KNOWLEDGE of what was going on.

He failed to protect the Southern border, and actively made it worse.

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Biden singlehandedly turned the Southern border into the worst illegal immigration crisis in US history. He reversed many policies set in place by the Trump administration, resulting in 2.3 million illegal immigrants flooding into the US under his watch, a historic high.


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Biden reversed the Trump-era policy that halted all funds going into Iran. The Wall Street Journal revealed the smoking-gun evidence proving that Iran trained AND funded Hamas before its gruesome terror attacks against Israel. Moreover, shortly before the attacks, the Biden administration unfroze $6 BILLION dollars of Iran's assets as a part of a prisoner swap. On top of this, Biden resumed $200 million worth of "humanitarian aid" to Gaza that Trump had ended—because the money was being used to buy weapons for Hamas.

Top 5 economic milestones that show HOW BAD Bidenomics has made the economy

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From groceries to house prices, everything seems to get more expensive, and you can thank Biden for that. Glenn recently exposed the truth about 'Bidenomics' and the havoc it has wrought on the American economy. Here are five economic milestones during the Biden administration that expose the glaring track record of "Bidenomics:"

In July 2022, the inflation rate hit 9.1 percent, a 40-year record high.

In June 2022, gas hit an all time record high of $5 a gallon for the national average.

61 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck as of this September.

Interest rates reached a 15-year high at 5.25 percent and are still increasing.

Americans have $1 trillion in collective credit card debt, in part due to food/staple pieces being very high.