Fix the Court executive director Gabe Roth released the following statement marking the start of the Supreme Court’s new term:
While those unable to attend second day of Rosh Hashanah services in person today could stream the ecclesiastical action before the high court of heavenly justice on their computers and mobile devices, only a few hundred souls in Washington were able to experience this morning’s gaveling in of the high court of American justice due to that institution’s refusal to grant broadcast access. That should not be the case in 2016.
Call the court hamstrung, or not, due to the vacancy; call into question the justices’ motives or mental acuity; call on them to take more or fewer or different cases – but wherever one stands on the court’s jurisprudence or institutional limitations, we can all agree there is something injudicious about how it insists on hiding its work from the vast majority of the public.
The justices’ anti-broadcast posture did not make sense two years ago when Fix the Court began, two decades ago when the first congressional cameras-in-court bill was introduced, or even in 1972 when the Judicial Conference adopted a blanket cameras ban. And it does not make sense today.