Cameras in the courtroom?

Not a good idea, says Chris Berger of Overland Park, Kansas. He notes that issue has increasingly arisen in recent Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Installing cameras would politicize the court and threaten its independence, writes Berger. I generally agree with that assessment, and I oppose using cameras to broadcast Supreme Court proceedings.

There have been some efforts to tape and broadcast committee hearings in the Missouri General Assembly. I don’t know if those efforts ever gained traction, but I would be similarly disinclined to support such a move. Not that committee hearings could never be recorded by video, but that it is unnecessary and inadvisable to videotape every meeting of every committee to produce for open consumption. Even if it was cheap and easy to do – which it probably wouldn’t be – that would not alter more principal considerations.

Our national and state governments are designed according to republican principles, and are stabilized by a system of checks and balances. Whether it’s bringing cameras into the Court Chamber of the Supreme Court – or Hearing Room 6 in the basement of the Missouri State Capitol – let’s not tamper with republicanism and checks and balances in an ill-fated grasp at “transparency.”


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Filed under Missouri Politics, Supreme Court

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