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Kennedy: From TV being "a teacher" to it introducing an "insidious dynamic"

All nine sitting justices have at some point in their careers expressed positive or at least neutral sentiments toward putting cameras in the Supreme Court to televise oral arguments and opinion announcements.

For whatever reason, the justices today balk at the question – or have changed their opinion outright. That includes Justice Kennedy.

Here are his own words on cameras in the court, changing over time.

1987 confirmation hearing: “My initial reaction is that I think it might make me and my colleagues behave differently than they would otherwise […but p]erhaps they would be accustomed to it after a while. The press is a part of our environment. We cannot really excise it from the environment.” December 15, 1987

2005: “Sometimes if the system is flawed, the people ought to know it. And if television shows a flawed system, then let them see it. […] Television can be a teacher. And if we were going to have a debate on television in the courtroom, and you drew the affirmative side of the debate, you could make probably more positive points. And we sometimes wish lawyers were better prepared, but they haven’t seen us at work. If they had a videotape or a DVD, then they could see it. So you can make a lot of arguments for it.” November 10, 2005, American Bar Association Rule of Law symposium

2013: “My colleagues and I are not immune from the instinct to grab a headline, and I don’t want to think that my colleague asked a question for the benefit of the press. I don’t want to introduce that insidious dynamic between myself and my colleagues.” July 28, 2013, Chautauqua Institution

Fix the Court believes that the justices – either of their own accord or compelled by Congress – should grant the media and the public greater access to oral arguments and opinion announcements through the live broadcast of those events.

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