News & Politics

Could Supreme Court Proceedings Finally Be Televised?

A bipartisan bill is pushing for cameras to finally be allowed into the high court.

Image of the Supreme Court via iStock.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin and Senator Chuck Grassley introduced a bipartisan bill Thursday that would require the Supreme Court to allow public proceedings to be televised. Cameras are not currently allowed inside the building, a rule that’s long been the source of controversy.

Prior to the pandemic, members of the public couldn’t even listen to proceedings live, unless they were physically inside the court. That changed last year, when the court had to switch to teleconferenced hearings because of Covid.

Should the new bill make it into law, people across the nation could watch the oral arguments of the nation’s top judges and lawyers. Certain cases could remain closed if a majority of justices vote that televising the proceedings would violate due process rights, but many landmark cases would be open to the wider public for the first time. “It’s time to put cameras in the Supreme Court so Americans can finally see deliberations and rulings on cases, which will affect them for generations to come,” Durbin said in a statement.

Jane Recker
Assistant Editor

Jane is a Chicago transplant who now calls Cleveland Park her home. Before joining Washingtonian, she wrote for Smithsonian Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, where she studied journalism and opera.