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Let the Sun Shine on the Supreme Court

12 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2007 Last revised: 20 May 2008

Marjorie Cohn

Thomas Jefferson School of Law


The Supreme Court has steadfastly refused to allow its oral arguments to be televised. Justices jealously guard their anonymity, which would be lost if they allowed television broadcasts. Yet arguments against cameras in the courtroom - intimidation of witnesses and jurors, and prejudice to the accused - are inapplicable to the high court. Beginning with the arguments in Bush v. Gore, the Court began to release audiotapes and transcripts of its proceedings. But in spite of Congressional attempts to open the Supreme Court to cameras, the justices remain opposed to cameras in their courtroom. This essay argues for camera coverage of Supreme Court arguments.

Keywords: televised trials, cameras in courtroom, Bush v. Gore, public trial, televising Supreme Court, access to trials, Supreme Court access, gavel-to-gavel coverage, oral arguments, broadcast coverage, television cameras, media exposure

JEL Classification: K40

Suggested Citation

Cohn, Marjorie, Let the Sun Shine on the Supreme Court. Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, Vol. 35, p. 161, 2008; TJSL Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1015151. Available at SSRN:

Marjorie Cohn (Contact Author)

Thomas Jefferson School of Law ( email )

1155 Island Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
United States
619-961-4219 (Phone)

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