Statement: SCOTUS Budget Hearing Underscores Court’s Lack of Transparency
After a hearing today at the House Committee on Appropriations on the Supreme Court’s budget, Gabe Roth, executive director of the advocacy group Fix the Court, made the following statement:
While their antiquated views on allowing cameras into the courtroom are well known, the back-and-forth between the justices and the members of Congress today demonstrated just how out of touch the Supreme Court has become regarding modern expectations of transparency from public officials. It’s strange to say this, but in terms of openness, the justices could take a page from Congress, whose members put their annual financial disclosure reports online, check with ethicists before taking trips paid for by the public and allow broadcast media to record their public work.
The House Appropriations Committee should consider using its constitutional authority over court practices to write transparency upgrades into the Supreme Court’s FY2016 budget – including line-items for installing broadcast technology in the courtroom and researching ways to improve the justices’ accountability to the taxpayers.