Should the Supreme Court arguments over health care be televised?
Demonstrators stood outside the US Supreme Court after today's morning session.
March 27th, 2012
03:21 PM ET

Should the Supreme Court arguments over health care be televised?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

While the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments about the constitutionality of Obamacare, only a few hundred members of the public and press can actually see what is happening as it's happening.

That's because the high court decided that there would be no televised coverage of the historic health care hearings.

Lawmakers, media and open government groups had pushed for the court to break with tradition and let TV cameras in to broadcast the three days of oral arguments.

Some say the Supreme Court's practice of no TV cameras is behind the times.

But the best they could get are daily audio recordings and transcripts of the hearings. The court says they're releasing these because of quote "extraordinary public interest" in the health care case.

No kidding. What these nine justices decide could have major effects on the political and economic future of this country. Not to mention the health care for millions of individual Americans.

Which is why polls show Americans overwhelmingly in favor of televising the arguments before the nation's highest court.

A new CNN/ORC poll shows 61% of those surveyed say the Supreme Court should allow TV cameras into hearings. Only 35% say no.

In December, Congress held hearings on the so called Cameras in the Courtroom Act. Supporters say TV coverage of the high court's hearings would provide more transparency.

Opponents suggest allowing cameras in would detract from the integrity and decorum of the institution. Baloney. That court is conducting the people's business, and the people have every right to witness what goes on.

Here’s my question to you: Should the Supreme Court arguments over health care be televised?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Posted by
Filed under: Health care • Supreme Court
soundoff (130 Responses)
  1. Doug Ericson

    If someone thought it was worth sponsoring why not. But the transcripts are being made public so it isn't neccessary. We already know how the four Commie clown judges, ( Ginsberg, Kagan, Sotomeyer, and Breyer), are going to vote.( In favor of the bill). Opponents of the bill have to hope that Kennedy goes along with the four Right Wing Bozos on the court. How did we ever get to this place, where 9 Clowns with the intellectual capacity of neighborhood bullies get to decide, ( or not ), the legality of legislation that affects everyone in the country. Doug, Pepperell, MA.

    March 27, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  2. Ron WPAFB

    If it would be anything like, "The worst little Political Team", covered the primarys, then NO! Let the news happen! DOn't make a Zoo out of our Judicial Process! They do pretty well at that themselves!

    March 27, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  3. Bobby (Jackson MS)

    Why not ? everything else is televised be just yet another political side show taking up air time that could be used for much better

    March 27, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  4. pat in michigan

    Lord no.We wouldn't want to hear a law based argument that might clarify the situation. That might help the voting public decide based on an educated opinion grounded in the law.

    March 27, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  5. tom Bulger, Canandaigua, NY

    Absolutely. Must see TV. This issue is critical to our economic survival. Singapore spends a mere 3.7 percent of its GDP on healthcare. We spend 17% of our GDP on healthcare. In terms of quality of care, Singapore is ranked 6th and the US is ranked 37th. We must stop throwing our money away, if we hope to compete in a global economy.

    March 27, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  6. Brandon

    Not if the justices don't want it, and they have explicitly said that they don't for several reasons. The audio is available everyday at the conclusion of the court and the transcripts can be found on the supreme court website. I am personally fine with it not being televised.

    March 27, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  7. Michael Bindner, Alexandria VA

    No. The arguments don't always reflect how the Court will decide. The last thing we need is an unsavvy public looking in on the debate and mounting popular pressure when their deliberations must be based on law and the materials presented. Congress is televised so that the people may influence it. The Courts exist to deal with issues where the people have either gone too far or not far enough and justice demands something else.

    March 27, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  8. Bill of New Mexico

    Why is any functioning of our so-called "Democratic Government" classified secret to be kept from the eyes and ears of the people?

    Yes! it should be televised.

    The citizens would learn of the:
    Health Law,
    and of the justices.

    If they were televised, the citizens just migh identify with the government a little more.

    March 27, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  9. Ed from California

    Yes! All of our hired "help(s)", endeavours have to be televised. We as a group of taxpayers have a right to see what our hired government help is up to. And see how they conduct our business, and who or what groups are,,,,succeeding in buying our government of the people and by the people, for a select few. We as taxpayers need to wake up before all of our jobs are gone, along with all of our employer paid for health care. I know I can't afford the alternative.

    March 27, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  10. JD in NH

    All Supreme Court proceedings should be televised.

    March 27, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  11. jk in MN

    Yes this should be televised as should all the rest of their proceedings. Americans need to have the right to see how this branch of government operates – especially after their Citizen's United ruling.

    March 27, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  12. Duke from the Crowbar Saloon

    Nah, they talking in legle mumbo, would bore the leafs off a plant. I want more Santorum cartoons!

    March 27, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  13. Eric - Houston

    No, this is our highest court not a circus and since we can hear the recordings we have ample opportunity to learn and/or monitor our courts in action. What we don't get is another reality TV show. I believe the justices have acted wisely.

    March 27, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  14. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    I would like to see them televised to see for my own self and established in my own mind what is happening. It seems like every reporter has a different spin on what was said in the court. You can flip around the news channels and get many interpretations of the court proceedings. Fox news I don't bother with because I consider them to be an opinionated and biased network, you know what they will say before they even say it.

    March 27, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  15. Kevin SD CA

    Why, so that the communist dictator justices who are for Obamacare can demoralize those of us who believe in the US Constitution by flaunting their disregard for truth in our faces on national Television?

    March 27, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  16. John from Alabama

    Jack: I do not believe television would be a great idea. The United States Supreme Court is not a realty program. What the Supreme Court decides about the Affordable Health Care Act will determine weather each individual will have to pay something for their healthcare, instead of, those with health insurance having their premiums go up, because 25% to 35% of the people just show up at the emergency room. We should all have some type of health care plan, which gives access to a doctor and medical labs for test. It is not Obamacare like some politicans think it is. It is healthcare for all.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  17. Frank Poynton from Los Angeles

    Its a novel approach. I think CSPAN would be a good venue. Clarence Thomas can then further his career as a silent star.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  18. Jenna Roseville CA

    Should the Supreme Court arguments over health care be televised?

    Of course they should. It's called TRANSPARENCY.

    Roseville CA

    March 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  19. Rich McKinney, Texas

    What a waste of time that would be. If you have ever been in a court proceeding before then you know it is all one big Dog and Pony show. It is not about the issue at hand. It is about the legality of how the issue came about in the first place. The justices get to give their opinion in the end and that replaces the law. It is their individual interpretation of what they think the law should be. The rest of America is stuck with their decision no mater the outcome. All it takes is one vote more. We would be better off flipping a coin.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  20. Steve, Clifton, Virginia

    Because their decision will affect multi-millions of U S Citizens both directly and indirectly, the arguments should be publicly televised. The public interest in the arguments presented is especially critical in that any resulting decisions will impact, either adversely or favorably, present and future health care options. Some of the provisions arguments are being presented on pertain to future provisions of the law which are not currently in effect, so the Courts decision could be precedent setting in that they are determining constitutional issues on laws not yet in effect. Do we want the Court to rule in these type futuristic matters on issues unrelated to health care? I would suggest not. Does the U S Constitution give that kind of authority to the US Supreme Court?

    March 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  21. Connie from Logansport,IN.

    Jack, Jack ,we just endured many clown shows called the republican debates and now you want to punish us with the supreme clown show, no thank you. Only hope if they decided to get rid of the mandate they do away with their health care and all politicians health care .As they say whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  22. Pat from Wyoming

    Yes, Jack. The process on this decision should be seen by all. Let us all know if they deserve to be called justices or politicians.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  23. cathy from Illinois

    Why not, everything else is on T V

    March 27, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  24. Ken from Pinon Hills, California

    Certainly, that way the public will see why Presidents appoint justices, and how politics has galloped into the courts.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  25. calaurore9

    Yes. Why not? Educational, informative, transparent.

    Carol in Ma

    March 27, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  26. John Lake Charles, LA

    If this is going to be another Republican vs Democrate pissing match then yes, there are plenty of reality tv groupies who would love to watch it. If however, it is a serious and impartial evaluation of the merits then no, let the court do it's job without tv cameras in their faces.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  27. Martha Brooks

    Probably not. Unless they included Kim Kardashian, Snooki or Ryan Seacrest. Otherwise, it wouldn't get the ratings and would likely be canceled after three shows, anywho...

    Martha, Rew, PA

    March 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  28. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Yes Jack they should be. This is the most significant issue in our country today. It would really expose the division of our political party system in the court, just like the elections in 2000, since these people are appointed based on their leanings towards Democrats or Republicans. It may not change anything but at least we the little people would get to see it.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  29. Paul From Austin Texas

    No if it would be aloud to be televised the outcome could be much different. When something is for all to see sometimes we see nothing.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  30. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Yes, we got to see just how bad our court system can be like the O.J. trial so we should see this one too.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  31. Dave M. -Idaho

    Nay! Cameras encourage grandstanding. Think Judge Tito in OJ's trial. Think Judge Larry Seidlin in the Anna Nicole fiaso. Think Judge Judy! ... I rest my case.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  32. Pete in Florida

    Absolutely they should be televised – but ALL segments of our government, from local to federal, are worse than vampires when it comes to avoiding "daylight". Come to think of it, they're a lot like vampires in other ways, too.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  33. Tom in Desoto, TX

    I believe in this case yes. This decision will effect everyone. The magnitude cannot be overstated and for this essentially being behind closed doors has nothing to do with enlightenment. It could also serve as a lesson in civics.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  34. RickFromDetroit

    Yes, the Supreme Court arguments over health care should be televised and so should all Supreme Court hearings be televised so the American Public can see first hand how the Chief Justices decide our future. The Supreme Court is funded by the taxpayers and we are entitled to know what they are doing.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  35. Dave, Orlando, FL

    Absolutely. While those arguing may try to grandstand and play to the cameras, the justices themselves probably won’t. But I would hope that perhaps the five least funny supreme clowns may be shamed into intelligent decisions that actually conform to the Constitution and the intent of our Founding Fathers, if they know their lack of regard for our most sacred document will be broadcast to the world.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  36. David of Alexandria, VA

    I do'n't think so, Jack. We gat the audio just fine. The facial expressions of the masters of arcania pondering the minutae of the arcane in language that only consttutional lawyers can understand are of little interest to me. The very thought of a plethora of legal-wannabe pundits doing body language analysis is chilling. If it was that interesting, someone would have started a reality show called the Real Justices of the Supreme Court and have 30 minute episodes showing them reading law journals.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  37. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: Absolutely NOT! The media only makes a circus of everything they cover. We need to read more-–and the decision will made publically.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  38. Rich in Gainesville FL

    Yes, they should be televised. This isn't a question of whether proceedings should be public, they are public now. This is simply a question of whether TV gives us all a chance to watch or whether only those fortunate enough to be in DC and get one of the few tickets are able to watch. Let everyone in.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  39. Karl in Flint, MI

    No. This is a monumental decision and televising it would probably educate both sides on the Constitutionality of the law, but we don't need the idiots on both sides getting into bar room brawls over the discussions. In reading articles on this, those that think the law is unconstitutional seem much more vocal and irrational then those that favor it. It is best to just get the final decision with the reasoning in a few sentences on CNN and let it go at that.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  40. david from herndon, va

    Of course it should be televised. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. However, the Supreme Court will never allow that since it would reveal what a political hack job the whole thing is.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  41. Mark, Nashua NH

    The transparency of having the most far-reaching decision since Brown v. Board of Education televised would have been a positive experience for our democracy. At least we we can still catch Antonin Scalia on the next episode of Jersey Shore as a consolation prize.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  42. bonnie from NJ

    "Opponents suggest allowing cameras in would detract from the integrity and decorum of the institution", really I think they lost any integrity when they said corporations can buy our politicians, legally! And decorum, who cares. I think if they knew people were watching it would add to whatever integrity they have left.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  43. C. Martin-Wood from Alabama

    People are flocking to theatres to watch Hunger Games, where children murder each other at the bidding of a bad government. So heck YEH. Televise the Supremes as they argue over whether this government will have a workable plan to treat the sick and elderly and indigent – and ultimately everyone else, since medical (and dental) care is out of reach for most of us in this country. Show the people what goes on in the unholy of unholies when permission to LIVE is decided by a few people with too much power and not enough humanity.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  44. Annie, Atlanta

    No. It's bad enough we're stuck with them for life, the last thing I want to see are some of these activists mugging for the camera. Maybe a better suggestion would be having a camera follow those who are invited to the Koch retreats.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  45. Ted

    SURE...just don't Nancy Polesi be in charge of it.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  46. James - Alexandria, VA

    Of course the Supreme Court arguments over health care be televised that way one can witness stupidity in action just like Congress. Plus the Supreme Court thinks they are above god and country and they are not. Even if they vote against the mandate it will not chnage my vote come November and I also would like to see one of those justices tell an adult or child they are going to die because of their decision......that makes good reality television.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  47. Jeff A in Tampa

    Absolutely the hearings should be televised. The only way for the court to ensure the American public gets an unbiased view of the proceedings is to allow a TV camera in the court room. From a PR perspective, it will help eliminate any doubt as to why a decision was reached. This is a very emotional issue for many Americans. While I understand the separation of Judicial and Executive branches, if the Obama Administration is serious about transparency, insisting on televising the hearing is a good way to show it.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  48. curtis in philadelphia

    If we televise revolutions in Egypt, why not televise this fight that affects us all here in the U.S.? Short answer: yes.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  49. Alan P. Hillsdale, NJ

    Yes it should be televised, but it won't be. The reason is the justices do not want to be embarrassed by us seeing half of them asleep during the proceedings, I don't think they can stay focused that long. What a sad state our justice system is when it appears the vote will be along partisan lines, regardless which side you are on, the law should never be a partisan issue. Sorry for us.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  50. David Doherty

    Absolutely, in what universe is the party paying for a service not allowed to observe the process in which that service is being performed? Just the fact that cameras are not allowed raises my suspicion, what are they trying to hide?
    Dave from NH.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  51. Gary H. Boyd

    Televising an issue as important as this should be obvious Jack. To suggest otherwise in the interest of "decorum" is, indeed "Baloney". Well over 300 million people will be affected by what these 9 members of the court hear from both sides of the issue and the decision they ultimately reach as a result. It's called transparency

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    March 27, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  52. Josh from New Orleans

    Jack, you answered your own question. The Supreme Court is conducting the people's business, and the people have every right to witness what goes on.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  53. Michael, from Smiths, Alabama

    Yea, I think its past time the Supreme Court allows for TV cameras to sit in on the sessions which are of most concern for Americans. If they're conducting the people's business, then the people have a right to see what's going on behind closed doors. The time for closed-door sessions went with the 2000 Presidential Decision.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  54. Leta

    Of course it should be on television!
    ! A very important issue to be ignored by the Americans because it will affect
    every day of their lives . Hope the Supreme Court's decision is not based on politics but for the welfare
    of all Amerians.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  55. jen seattle,wa

    Sure,Let the legitimacy of the arguement be heard..I would personally like to hear them say "Its not constitutional to make every one pay the non working sharholders of the insurance company so we can get access to the doctor .

    March 27, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  56. Dan in Albuquerque

    Absolutely, Jack. We need to see what the most powerful 9 people in America have to say when 5 of them vote against the plan that can mean America regains its' status in being a healthy nation. This court is apparently making a political decision opposite one that a very conservative federal court had ruled. If, as I predicted some time ago, the right-wingers hold sway, they condemn to death or critical illness many people of all ages who can't get the operations or medicines they need to live. That is just the beginning of human and economic tragedy we will see due to such a decision. So-called "free market" solutions are a joke.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  57. Mr D

    Why not. We could use another "soap opera" or "cage fight" on TV. This, however will be like a civilized arm wrestling match, and we might learn a thing or two about the Constitution. Just don't prempt my daytime soaps.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  58. Mitoosense Ft Lauderdale Florida

    People are getting stinkin rich from basic human needs. The Oligopoly conspiracy between employers and government places the citizen as a indentured servant to both. It must be a basic human need. If not people will avoid the product or service completly

    March 27, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  59. Pete in Georgia

    Televised ??
    What's next ?? Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson having center stage wailing away how opposition to the Dictatorship of Obamacare is racism started by Dick Cheney from his hospital bed ??
    This is where we are in America.
    And you wonder why the rest of the world is laughing at us.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  60. John-David in Vancouver, Washington

    No. Let's preserve the dignity of at least one of our branches of government, please. Watching congressmen, senators and presidents ham it up for camers is something we've gotten used to. Getting used to it from our Supreme Court justices, we don't need, thank you.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  61. Gary in San Jose, California

    Of course it should be televised. The highest court in the land is going to make a ruling on something that impacts every citizen. Not only do we have the right to hear the arguments ourselves but we have an obligation to educate.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  62. Jennifer M in Winnipeg

    definitely! and after the supreme court finishes messing around with it ... the whole bill should be put to a public vote. This deal is screwing with the public's lives. The 'mandatory' bit is one thing that should be thrown in the trash can for sure.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  63. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    Yes, the USSC arguments over health care should be televised if for no other reason than to let us all see what Thomas is doing while the other justices are asking questions.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  64. Gigi Oregon

    I think allowing a few in is enough. Otherwise it would become a circus. And probably cause civil unrest. Let's keep some dignity in one part of our government. Even though the press is telling us the court is basically leaning to support the right. Well, so much for Democracy. Are we really a democracy win approximately five hundred people write and make our decisions...

    March 27, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  65. Randy

    Not only should every case the supreme court hears be televised, but all closed door meetings by the president and congress as well. Any familial connections or beneficiaries of legislation before the government or courts should also be disclosed to the media immediately.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  66. Jim


    Sure. You could call it the conservative judicial activism hour and put it on right after FOX News.

    Reno, Nevada

    March 27, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  67. Karl in Flint, MI

    It would be educational for both sides, but given the intensity of emotions, record it and sell the DVD after the decision. The Court is not elected and does not answer to a constituency. They are there to keep the elected from doing too many stupid things and don't need TV cameras and daily news updates riling the troops. Leave well enough alone.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  68. Peter, Tarrytown, N.Y.

    Absolutely should be televised. Every decision they make affects every American. I want to hear the arguements of the case and the faces of the justices as they're listening to it. I want to hear their questions and see their faces as they ask them. While we're at it we should have camera's on every elected official 24/7. Every decision they make affects every American. I want to see where, how and, especially from who, they get their information to make a decision.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  69. H.....Illinois

    It should be televised. We are the ones paying their salary so why should they tell us that we can't see what we are paying for. The five Re[ublican Puppets think they are so much above us Peons that we wouldn't understand what is going on. Try us and see.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  70. andy Lynn, MA

    Yes. Would FDR ever been able to get America out of the great depression with a court like this?

    March 27, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  71. Virginia - Atlanta, GA

    Yes, we need to understand the document, there are many lies or misconceptions, going around (death clause, it will be more costly rather than less costly &c.) and we each should know the truth so we can quash the lies with authority. We also need to know who the good guys on the court may be and hope there are more than 4.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  72. George in PA

    When he campaigned in 2008, President Obama promised us transparency. Now is the time for all public servants to "walk the talk"!

    March 27, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  73. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    We have gone from a culture of character to a culture of personality, so says Susan Cain, and I agree.

    Here too in our judicial system we are no longer guided by blind justice, but rather ideology and our own perception.

    It is in this that we as a society should be able to be a check and balance for all branches of government, even the Judicial. So yes, the justices on the Supreme Court are not Gods, but mortals who should be judged and answer to us, the American people.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  74. marybeth, massachusetts

    No, absolutely not! It isn't as if it is an opaque or hidden process. There will be tapes made of the arguments, and transcripts will be available as well. A case being argued before the Supreme Court isn't like American Idol or Dancing With the Stars–unless you're one of the lucky ones who can go down and get one of the seats set aside for the public, you don't get to watch the proceedings in real time or via live streaming. Appellate cases aren't like trials–there are no facts to find, there's no jury, there's no evidence to be presented much less ruled upon whether it is admissible or not. If you listen to the recordings, you'll get to hear the justices' questions and the attorneys' responses. It will not follow a script–plenty of interruptions, lawyers may or may not get to make all of their points before time runs out.

    The Supreme Court isn't a circus, although I concede that some of their decisions have made me want to cry and wonder what were they thinking (Koramatsu, Dred Scott, Citizens United), but then I can read the opinion if I want to know that.

    Televising it won't make appellate cases any more "transparent"–it isn't like viewers get to vote like they do on American Idol and Dancing With Stars; televising it won't change the nature of appellate cases nor how they proceed (the the justices grilling the attorneys, the attorneys having a limited amount of time to get their points across). The real work goes on after the arguments are over–the justices retire to deliberate the case; attorneys have already submitted briefs, and sometimes interested parties submitted amici briefs (briefs from "friends of the court"). The justices won't go back to the attorneys–they'll refer to the briefs, to their notes, to the previous decisions of lower courts, to the Constitution, to previous decisions by the Supreme Court in similar cases.

    It isn't a reality tv show, and I think not having it televised is a good thing.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  75. Chris J

    We pay their salary...why not be televised?

    March 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  76. joshua

    maybe we should have had cameras when the democrats were putting this boondoggle together. I wanted to see the back room deals, threats and job promises needed to get enough democrats to go along with the deemed passed garbage used by harry reid to get this on obama's desk. after all, barack obama campaigned on the most transparent administration in history. now we know it was just a lie to get people to vote for him. anyone seeing a pattern here?

    March 27, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  77. Jason Levi

    No they do not need to be televised. Let the court follow its tradition. I hate when you see judges feel they are television stars because they know they are televised. We can still find out about the proceedings from audio tapes and the media.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  78. Ken from Vermont

    Ironic, isn't it. My heart surgery can be televised - but the courts can't be. Something wrong about that.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  79. Jon in New York, New YOrk

    Yes, we could be missing the brilliant dialectic skills of Justice Clarence Thomas. Oh wait, he never says anything. Why is he there again?

    March 27, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  80. Frances Porgal

    Not only yes, but HELL YES! They are doing the 'PEOPLE'S BUSINESS" and as such the PEOPLE have the right to hear AND see what occurs in that court. They are not the "supreme rulers" as they seem to think and I believe that it is high time to change the lifetime appointments of justices.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  81. andrew

    Jack, This is the question that you should have asked last week. Seems like you must have ridden your horse to work!

    March 27, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  82. Matt

    No, the Supreme Court should not televise arguments. It's obvious that the only reason people are interested in televising arguments is so that the media, and the political parties can make 30 second clips that mischaracterize and sensationalize what the Supreme Court actually does. Most people just want to use televised arguments for political purposes, which is not what the Court should be about. The people who are truly interested can read the opinions and listen to the audio files.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  83. Steve, Scotch Plains, NJ

    Yes, Absolutely.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  84. Ed in California

    The old saying goes that you don't want to watch sausages or laws being made. Then certainly the faint hearted don't want to watch the Supreme Court proceedings. Seeing how old and addled some of the justices are would diminish public confidence in our system....ok there ain't much confidence now....but it could be worse!!!

    Ed in Sacramento

    March 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  85. Allen

    No!!!!! The media just causes trouble! Reports if not to pay to cover it up. Just like politicians need to be put in their place a long with politicians. You won't report this as well!!!!!

    March 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  86. Mat

    This is a democracy, right?......I still think so! people need to be educated in a democracy, why not televise it and have people watch something other than the Jersey Shore.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  87. AggieJD

    Supreme Court hearings should absolutely be televised. Transparency in necessary. We, the people, are there employers and we should be able to monitor the Courts hearings.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  88. Jim Charlotte NC

    The question should be "why do we have a Supreme Court" Obviously it will be a 5 to 4 decision so why not just ask the one Justice who is always the swing vote what his decision is and get it over with.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  89. Gordon Streitenberger

    I believe that that this has such a big impact on the country and to better understand what is at stake it should be telivised.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  90. F. Nardo Cape Coral, FL

    Normally I would say no, cases of a private nature should not be on tv, but the HCL involves all Americans to some degree, I would say YES put it on CPAN

    March 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  91. Bernie

    Jack u should know better. This is not a question to ask! Nobody cares anyway.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  92. karen matthews

    Of course Supreme Court hearings should be televised. This is the court hearings of the business of the people. We, the people, should be able to see and hear the discussions. This is the 21 century, isn't it?

    Karen Matthews, Belpre, OH

    March 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  93. Ngundjo

    If they can put TV cameras in with Snookie they can do the same with the Supreme Ct. Neither one represents the people.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  94. Annette LaBonte

    Yes if you really want transparency. My question is: if the health care law is deemed unconstitutional, that we can not be forced to buy health insurance and be penalized if we do not, then can we apply that to car insurance? We are forced to buy a product–car insurance–and are fined if we do not have it. I pay more in insurance every year than my car is worth. I basically re-buy my car every year. The argument that you can hurt others with a car doesn't wash because if I have a contagious disease, do not go to a doctor and cough all over you, I harm you.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  95. Robert Pike, Homestead Fl

    Jack; the jesting you and Wolf did just after you asked the question ("they don't still ride horses to court, do they"?) hits the nail on the head. The real question isn't whether they should have their court activities televised. The question should be why aren't these judges confident enough to state their opinions publicly? Are they afraid to "look the public (camera) in the eye?"

    March 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  96. Lois R. Minneapolis, MN

    Yes, Supreme Court arguements should be televised. If a jurist is obviously prejudiced by political leanings, we should be able to see this in their questions. The judges should be deciding these cases according to the Constitution and not according to thier political ideology.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  97. Mary-Louise-Wehunt (Live2Write2Live)

    Yes, in this case I believe live coverage should be allowed.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  98. norm

    We can televise the war in the Middle East, but not when it comes to our healthcare.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  99. Camille Lafont

    If it makes Americans feel better to see the Justices predispositions to these cases, then I suppose so. The fact remains that the Justices all have formulated well known persuasions of thought and I strongly doubt that much of the strongest, least the weakest arguments thus made by the Obama administration will make an earth shaking difference.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  100. Eric

    I don’t that every case should get TV access . I do think it should on this subject .
    I think that it could be used as a great example on how our system works and talked about for generations to come.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  101. David in NC

    While most people are bored watching C-Span, it does provide a visual record of what happens in the legislative branch of our government. The supreme court argues that television cameras would take away from the decorum of the institution, but ignores that they are not the impartial constitutional watchdogs they were intended to be. It's time for them to admit to themselves that they are just as ideaologically motivated by their party affiliation as the next politician.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  102. Jim from PA

    Yes Jack. If not, perhaps the Justices should then discuss the meaning of Narcissism!

    March 27, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  103. Richard in FL.

    No, because the media will turn it into circus like they do everything else. Instead of just reporting the news they will hype it up for commercial revenue. They have become as sad as our politicians. 🙁

    March 27, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  104. Don Hapward

    If you want to know what goes on in an oral argument try watching "Gideon'sTrumpet" with John Houseman as the Chief Justice. To all those clamoring for live coverage see how many can name the nine justices. I bet the percentages would appall everyone. This is a sacred institution that should remain closed to the public SORRY!
    You will have to settle for Mr Toobin's twitter accounts. It is always amusing to watch the media and public go off
    on a tangent when they can't have everything. 24-7 news finally gets stalled temporarily.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  105. George--Ashdod Israel

    The proceedings should absolutely NOT be televised because to do so would demean the Court. We need for Supreme Court justices and lawyers before the Court to be judges and lawyers–not actors and actresses on so-called reality TV. If you want to watch televised 'proceedings', go watch Judge Judy.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  106. Yuli

    Are you kidding me?! This shouldn't even be a question. It should be REQUIRED BY LAW to have these types of events / hearings / votes etc... televised for the good people of America, I repeat, the GOOD people of America every time so we know what is going on in this country for OUR best interests, not the interests of Elitists, Corporations or Banksters. We have every right to know what some group of people may or may not decide on how we "should" live.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  107. Tashane- Miami, Florida

    No the the supreme court arguments should not be televised because it corrupts the integrity of the court and its proceedings. That is exactly whats wrong with the american court system today. The media helps make decisions on the law rather than having a truely fair trial in court. This is why we have people who get wrongly convicted by juries. They see someone on tv in handcuffs and assume guilt. The same theory applies here. Keep the media out of court and keep images of people that are awaiting trial confidential. Congress should try to make this a law!

    March 27, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  108. Tariq Raheem

    As a Social Studies teacher from Newark, NJ, I believe that televised civil discourse in the Supreme Court can be of benefit to students of law and concerned citizens seeking clarity on issues that matter most to them.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  109. Arlene, Roselle, Illinois

    Why would that court want the American people to see how they do there business behiind
    a curtin. If we viewed it we would almost ask for them to be elected and not appointed.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  110. Rebecca from Georgia

    Well, apparently a lot of people don't fully understand the healthcare law and as such are tossing it aside instead of learning more about it. I think if cameras are allowed in the general public might get a chance to figure out what they don't know and decide for themselves intellectually if they want it or not .

    March 27, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  111. Paul in FL.

    Yes Jack, it would be the greatest reality TV show on earth. We would finally get to see who cares about their country verses who cares about their pockets, power and prestige. Also, someone thought it was smart to put cameramen embedded with combat units. So, it's ok to see the truth about the wars but not about our so-called top law office.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  112. el don Rodrigo

    Jack, hell yes! These nine people decide what will affect this nation according to their professional, judicial and personal interpretation. If the rulings can be viewed than the citizens of this Nation will know who really sets the rules in this country. Further more, the House of Representatives should increase the impeach ability clauses so that "We" the people can vote who doesn't need to be there anymore.

    el don Rodrigo
    San Jose, CA

    March 27, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  113. Mike in Toronto

    I say no Jack. I would much prefer to watch this story line as next season's premier of "The Good Wife". Seriously, your Supreme Court is a bit of a joke. It's as partisan as your politics and as corupt as your healthcare system. We all know what's going on. Do we really need to watch it live?

    March 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  114. Joanie Bach

    We don't care either way, however we do want the so called Affordable HealtCare Bill to be knocked down as it is
    not American. This ADM you will always know what something is in fact, as it is exactly opposite of what they say it it.
    When we read the bill we thought were were in a Coummunist Country reading same.
    400B in new taxes it has in the bill, $105B to impliment the bill, and a dozen othere taxes such as 3.8% Federal Tax to each seller of a their homes commencing in 2014. Lotza surrpises folks that makes one very upset.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  115. druidking9884

    No, I believe the Supreme Court will lose something: that mystery and suspense that surrounds what goes on behind closed doors. I personally like to sit and wait impatiently for court decisions to be heard and settled. Taped recordings are enough, but no live feed.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  116. Sandra

    Yes, it is so important that we really should have the opportunity. Healthcare is a serious issue in this country. It has become too expensive and something needs to change. However, it would probably be just like watching Congress; a divisive mess made up of posturing for the sake of appearances because we all know they have made up their minds. Boy, I'm sick of party lines.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  117. Max Brooks from Orlando Florida

    Jack, these Supreme Court justices are not elected by the public and they are also appointed for life. It boggles my mind that American citizens are okay with this process and that the Supreme Court basically gets to operate behind closed doors. Television coverage would at least allow citizens to view the logic used by these justices and considering the gigantic impact that some of these cases can have on the population, we should have demanded television coverage years ago. While we are still in imaginary land though, I'm still waiting on the Supreme Court to rule on whether or not the government has the constitutional right to make marijuana illegal.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  118. Carole, VA

    They're conducting public business, and we, the people, pay them to do so. As such, I think we, the people, or at least those of us who are intellectually curious enough to care, should be able to see how they're conducting business, presumably on our behalf. I haven't heard a legitimate basis for refusing to allow cameras in the courtroom. Surely, they're professional enough, and focused enough on the business at hand, to ignore a few stationary, unobtrusive cameras?

    March 27, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  119. Larry Feierstein-Denver

    what difference does it make. We are dealing with 9 justices with agendas beforehand. The lawyers can argue all they want, in the end the conservative court wins and Obamacare loses. I dont need to watch tv for this, i "get all the news i need from the weather report"

    March 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  120. Richard Certo

    Who are you kidding? The only logical reason TV news would want to have cameras in the Supreme Court is to increase their audience numbers. Do we really need a Supreme version of "Judge Judy"? If the average U.S. citizen has time to sit and listen to Supreme Court arguments who's to say they'll even understand what is being argued? Besides that, do we really want the Justices worrying about how they look on T.V. when they are debating issues that could change the course of history? My vote is NO CAMERAS!

    March 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  121. Jake

    Yes, as well as all other proceedings where the public is allowed to attend. It would have a C-Span like quality, and provide a better opportunity to understand not only the law of the cases under consideration, but also the socio-political factors the justices employ in deciding the cases, and the importance of judicial appointments in presidential elections.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  122. Kim , Dodge City, Ks

    The fact that they won't allow television cameras in, just shows us how little they trust the American people, and why we should distrust them just as much. Citizens United proved that beyond a shadow of doubt.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  123. Carole, VA

    This doesn't go to the question of cameras in the courtroom, per se, but in relation to the health care hearings, here's a question for you... If they find the individual mandate unconstitutional, what's to stop the GOP from striking down Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment and Social Security? After all, those are all de facto forms of insurance all workers and employers are required to pay into via payroll deductions, are they not? Romney claims he doesn't need to care about poor people, because they have a 'safety net.' Will they, or any of us, continue to have any safety nets? We're on a very slippery slope here.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  124. erinmontague

    Sorry, but I can't think of anything more boring to watch on TV. Oh wait – a debate!
    Northern California

    March 27, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  125. Dan

    Jack, yes I do believe that it should be televised. It effects most of us, and I believe that the public has the right to know.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  126. Thom Richer

    Why? No one understands it anyway. Unintelligible legalese by nine pseudo intellectuals that know full well the masses don't understand or know what the Hell they are talking about and don't give a hoot for our well being in the first place. Just weigh this whole judicial farce by considering the absurd fact that NINE eccentric "justices," or as I like to think of them, nine men and women, will decide the health and well being of billions of Americans and we accept it as Word of God. Could anything be more insanely fascist, repressive or forceful? Don't think so. If we allow such suppression of Democracy, it is our own fault and we deserve what we get. Put it to a vote...our vote!

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    March 27, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  127. Oscar from Corinth, TX

    With respect to whether the Supreme Court arguments over health care be televised, I say most definitely! This is one way of keeping these important issues in check with what the people want. Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing. I also believe that government should offer Americans increased opportunities to participate in policymaking and to provide their Government with the benefits of their collective expertise and information.

    Obama and many other leaders have publicly stated that the national health care law is of national importance but the Supreme Court apparently doesn’t care. Why? Well for one, each of the members of the Supreme Court has health coverage so it’s not surprising to note that neither of them is worried about health insurance. Why is this important? The Supreme Court will be taking a three month vacation in the middle of this case… this is unconscionable!

    March 27, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  128. Max Brooks from Orlando Florida

    People using lower courts and Judge Judy as an example have no understanding of what the Supreme Court actually does.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  129. Loren

    No, because it would expose how boring and mind-numbing arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court really is. This is not a trial court where a defendants's rights need to be protected, but an appeals court where a decision is handed down well after the argument. Televising the proceedings would create a sense of immediacy that would detract from the measured consideration that all appeals courts need to give to the matters infront of them. In other words, we have enough circuses in our life, we don't need the U.S. Supreme Court being made one as well.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  130. Larry in Houston

    Jack – Doug Ericson in Pepperell, Ma. & Bill of New Mexico took my same words & thoughts, shall I say anything else ?

    March 27, 2012 at 4:56 pm |