Thursday, March 14, 2013

Justice Kennedy: Cameras at Court Would Be ‘Insidious’

WASHINGTON — At a House hearing Thursday focused on judicial budget issues, an Illinois congressman delicately raised with two Supreme Court justices a constant sore point in relations between Congress and the Supreme Court — their refusal to permit video transmission of their public argument sessions.
Democrat Mike Quigley, a criminal defense attorney before his election to the House, suggested that the public would learn about the judicial branch if all Americans, rather than those able to wait in line to get into the court in Washington, could witness its sessions.
“We are a teaching institution,” Justice Anthony Kennedy conceded at a hearing streamed over the Internet. But “we teach by not having television there,”  so that the public focuses on the court’s written opinions rather than its personalities, he said.
Justice Kennedy said he feared that if cameras were present, the suspicion might arise that his colleagues were playing to the cameras. “I just don’t want that insidious dynamic [to] intervene between me and my colleagues,” he said.
Mr. Quigley said he was astonished at the suggestion that a Supreme Court justice would be bothered by something so superficiaL

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