Gabe Roth, executive director of Fix the Court, released the following statement December 3 on Young v. UPS and the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, IP and the Internet’s hearing on improving electronic media access to the court:
As Supreme Court justices heard arguments today in Young v. UPS, an important workers’ rights case, outdated and restrictive media policies prevented all but the 200 or so individuals who could physically fit into the courtroom from experiencing it. That makes no sense given modern technology, and Fix the Court is pleased that members of Congress are looking to improve media and public access to the court so all Americans can observe the court’s proceedings.
There is little question that Congress has the authority to set institutional policy at the Supreme Court, from the number of members who sit on the court to the size of its annual budgets. With a likely bipartisan push in the new Congress to expand electronic media access to court hearings, members should take the opportunity to craft a bill that would also require the justices to comport with our modern expectations of public figures – the justices should follow a code of conduct, release comprehensive financial disclosures online and publicize the reasoning behind their periodic recusals.