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Roberts: From “nothing to be afraid of” to “concerned about the impact”

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 Chief Justice Roberts.

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

2005 confirmation hearing: “Well, my new best friend, Senator Thompson, assures me that television cameras are nothing to be afraid of. But I don’t have a set view on that. I do think it’s something that I would want to listen to the views of – if I were confirmed – of my colleagues.” September 14, 2005

2011: “We worry about the impact on lawyers; I worry about the impact on judges. […] We unfortunately fall into grandstanding with a couple of hundred people in the courtroom. I’m a little concerned about what the impact would be.” June 25, 2011, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Conference

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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