Poll Position: Should Obamacare’s day in court be televised?

This week, the Supreme Court agreed to weigh the constitutional merits of Obamacare. But even if the court decides to throw out the president’s health reform, unless something changes, the revolution will not be televised.

It may come as a surprise to some of you that proceedings at the Supreme Court are not televised already, given that we’re several decades into the TV era. In fact, only last year did the court begin to let the public hear audio of oral arguments — but only afterward.

C-SPAN chief executive Brian Lamb, in a letter this week to Chief Justice John Roberts, asked that the justices allow video just this one time:

The court’s decision to schedule at least five-and-a-half hours of argument indicated the significance of this case. … We believe the public interest is best served by live television coverage of this particular oral argument. It is a case which will affect every American’s life, our economy and will certainly be an issue in the upcoming presidential campaign.

It’s not the first time C-SPAN has made such a request. Justice Antonin Scalia offered one rebuttal earlier this year, as the Washington Examiner’s Joel Gehrke reports:

“For every ten people who sat through our proceedings, gavel to gavel, there would be ten thousand who would see nothing but a 30 second takeout from one of the proceedings” he said, “which I guarantee you would not be representative of what we do.” Scalia added that such soundbites would leave viewers with “a misimpression” of Supreme Court operations.

Should the Supreme Court allow the Obamacare hearing to be televised?

  • No (31 Votes)
  • Yes (20 Votes)
  • Not sure (3 Votes)

Total Voters: 54

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So, which interest outweighs the other: the public’s ability to watch such an important proceeding, as Lamb argued, or the avoidance of a “misimpression” of that proceeding, as Scalia warned against?

That’s this week’s Poll Position. Answer in the nearby poll and in the comments thread below.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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71 comments Add your comment

BULLSEYE

November 18th, 2011
8:44 am

sheldon schlegman

November 18th, 2011
8:49 am

I think it should be our choice to watch the proceedings or not.
We are entitled to know what arguments are presented, pro and conn.

ragnar danneskjold

November 18th, 2011
8:49 am

No merit to televising court proceedings.

JDW

November 18th, 2011
8:58 am

For once I agree with Scalia.

@Kyle what possible value to your piece did this bit add “But even if the court decides to throw out the president’s health reform, unless something changes, the revolution will not be televised”. The proceedings will not be televised regardless of the outcome.

Josh G

November 18th, 2011
8:58 am

As armature historian, a Pol Sci major, and a current law student. This case should be the exception to the general rule. This case no matter the outcome will be major in defining individual v government rights for the next 100 years or more. Unlike in a trial court the problems with most cameras are not there. No grand standing, no fight for the camera. However, to save this part of our history. Yes we should do it with out question.

No respect to our Atlas Shrugged Fan or Ayn Rand supporter, history should document this case. It is C-Span that is asking to tape it not CNN, or Fox News. This to me is like saying we can not tape the moon landing, or the riots of the 60’s. It is history.

Richard

November 18th, 2011
9:03 am

Absolutely not! The last we need is Supreme Court Justices trying to appease a television audience. The court has become politicized enough.

Voice of Reason

November 18th, 2011
9:06 am

Agree with Richard.

carlosgvv

November 18th, 2011
9:10 am

Why bother? All you will hear is a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo and, in the end, money and politics will decide.

Road Scholar

November 18th, 2011
9:26 am

What? repubs can’t read the proceedings? Besides when would the death threats begin?

joe

November 18th, 2011
9:28 am

Obamacare is toast. The older members of the supreme court don’t want it televised because they don’t want anyone to see the nurse that comes around with the rectal thermometer, blue pills, blood pressure monitors, anti-depression pills, and what not, all paid for by the taxpayers.

The cathode ray tube could not withstand irony like that, and would explode, killing everyone.

That’s why it won’t be televised, morons.

JKL2

November 18th, 2011
9:31 am

Will this be like obama’s promise that all the debates up to making the law would be televised?

jconservative

November 18th, 2011
9:32 am

No.

If one wants to be aware of the arguments made before the Court on this, or any case, all one has to do is:
1. read a good newspaper that has a Supreme Court reporter.
2. watch the “Newshour” on PBS. They do an excellent job on Court coverage.
3. listen to the recorded arguments.
4. read the majority opinion, and any concurring or dissenting opinions, after they are published.

The Supreme Court is not in the entertainment business and it should not be in that business. If you want to be entertained watch Fox News Channel or MSNBC. They have wonderful entertainers.

This case is today about the Commerce Clause. not government v individual rights. The Court may decide on that issue. But the Roberts Court has been a “big government” court in their decisions to date. Will this case follow the court’s previous thinking or will politics, in fact, enter into the decision?

Aquagirl

November 18th, 2011
9:43 am

We all know that in America, if it doesn’t happen on TV, it doesn’t happen.

And Josh G., what the h3ll is an “armature” historian? With that command of English you might want to switch your field of study. I suggest Drama.

getalife

November 18th, 2011
9:48 am

The bill was written by a VP of a health insurance company.

It is full of corporate welfare and the only reason you cons do not like this corporate welfare is your ods.

The corrupt sc will pass it.

Josh G

November 18th, 2011
10:00 am

@Aquagirl sorry it was “amateur” was on ipad.

@Jconservative it is about government and individual rights. The Commerce Clause is the governments right to make laws. The first case to set an almost unlimited right was Wickard v Filburn 317 U.S. 111 (1942) which held that a Farmer who was growing wheat on his own farm was effecting interstate Commerce because, he was growing more wheat than the government wanted him to grow. He had to destroy the extra and pay a fine.

It was not until United States v Lopez, that the Supreme Court limited Congress ability under the Commerce Clause. In Lopez was a gun regulation case. Under the three part test in Lopez it seems that the law may hold up looking at Lopez and Filburn together. As Healthcare is an activity that substantially affect and relates to interstate commerce. Doctors and nurse are train ind different states, then practice in different states. The medical supplies are shipped across different state lines. It will be interesting to see.

Welcome to the Occupation

November 18th, 2011
10:11 am

Some really good news. There’s a chance — just a chance — that this stupid committee is going to choke on its own vomit and fail, fail, fail.

Which is news that I am genuinely tickled pink over.

UGA 1999

November 18th, 2011
10:14 am

YES YES YES YES.

UGA 1999

November 18th, 2011
10:22 am

Yep you guys are right….racism does exist!
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=123_1321586410

Aquagirl

November 18th, 2011
10:24 am

sorry it was “amateur” was on ipad.

http://damnyouautocorrect.com/
:)

UGA 1999

November 18th, 2011
10:26 am

Aquagirl…it is ok, i hope you have a great Friday.

Jack

November 18th, 2011
10:27 am

I hope the court throws out the whole Marxist nonsense. I don’t care if it’s televised since I quit watching TV since programmers consider newsworthy the trashy occupiers; they make me sick to my stomach.

Welcome to the Occupation

November 18th, 2011
10:34 am

Jack: “I hope the court throws out the whole Marxist nonsense”

Name one thing “Marxist” about this gravy train for corporate barons.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

November 18th, 2011
10:35 am

Should Obamacare’s day in court be televised?
——–

Sure. So should Obama’s when he and his crime family are prosecuted for their multi-billion-dollar pay-to-play scheming.

Welcome to the Occupation

November 18th, 2011
10:35 am

Do you know what Marxism is, Jack?

UGA 1999

November 18th, 2011
10:38 am

welcome…..do you even know who Karl Marx is? Have you ever read his writtings?

Craig J Casey

November 18th, 2011
10:42 am

Was the candidate Obama the one that promised unparalleled open transparency? Maybe that just was a promise. Now we find out he’s no different than any other scheming politicians with Solyndra, fast and furious, etc. etc. etc. http://cobrahealth.com/Obamacare.html

Welcome to the Occupation

November 18th, 2011
10:45 am

UGA 1999, oh I think I know a thing or two about Marx.

How about you?

UGA 1999

November 18th, 2011
10:47 am

Welcome….absolutely. So what are your feelings on his society equality regarding his beliefs?

ByteMe

November 18th, 2011
10:56 am

No, because cameras make people fatter and dumber than they really are.

Three words to explain: Judge Lance Ito.

’nuff said.

Welcome to the Occupation

November 18th, 2011
10:57 am

Sorry, UGA, don’t understand your question.

Aquagirl

November 18th, 2011
11:02 am

Sorry, UGA, don’t understand your question.

What part of “your feelings on his society equality regarding his beliefs?” do you not understand…besides all of the mangled, bleeding mess of a question?

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

November 18th, 2011
11:04 am

I am less concerned with what televising will do for the justices alleged need to perform in front of the camera, than for the attorneys to ham it up.

No television.

UGA 1999

November 18th, 2011
11:06 am

Welcome and Aqua…..sorry but it was a very staight forward question. If you have read Marx words you would know exaclty what I mean.

UGA 1999

November 18th, 2011
11:07 am

Tiberius…..Television will make the judges accountable for the verdict.

Dusty

November 18th, 2011
11:17 am

I think Judge Scalia has a point. TV stations are not going to televise the whole proceedings, just a snapshot before they start commercials. As Scalia suggested, this will not give the total workings of the Supreme Court and is not a good way to inform people. That’s a reasonable point.

If you can’t do it right, don’t do it.

Hillbilly D

November 18th, 2011
11:22 am

When there are trials at the local county courthouse, they are open to the public. Why should this be any different? Maybe the 9 Lords on High just don’t think it’s any of the Great Unwashed’s business what they are doing.

MarkV

November 18th, 2011
11:29 am

The inane exchanges about Marx and Marxism apparently started with Jack’s post @10:27 am: “I hope the court throws out the whole Marxist nonsense.” And it should end with the simple: Characterizing the Obama’s health care reform as having anything to do with Marxism is showing a total ignorance of the subject.

getalife

November 18th, 2011
11:29 am

Dusty,

C-Span does not have commercials silly.

Republican Bloggers are INSANE

November 18th, 2011
11:31 am

@Lil’ Barry Bailout (Revised Downward) November 18th, 2011 10:35 am – Should Obamacare’s day in court be televised?
——–
Sure. So should Obama’s when he and his crime family are prosecuted for their multi-billion-dollar pay-to-play scheming.
*********************************************************************************

Lil Biddy Barry Bailout YOU ARE NO BETTER THAN OSCAR ORTEGA HERNANDEZ (the nut who claims he is the modern day Jesus and that Obama is the anti-christ).

You are a NUT and he is a BIGGER NUT always spreading lies about Obama. I guess you think the more you tell your lies the more they become the truth. NOT!

Intelligent people just ignore people like you and when we see your posts we all JUST LAUGH and say, “POOR LIL BIDDY BARRY HE IS SOOOOOO LONELY AND WANT SOME ATTENTION!

GET A DOG OR A GIRLFRIEND! IF THEY WOULD HAVE YOU!

Welcome to the Occupation

November 18th, 2011
11:32 am

UGA, “So what are your feelings on his society equality regarding his beliefs?” is not a coherent question.

getalife

November 18th, 2011
11:32 am

I suggest you cons watch the balance the budget debate and get a clue about C-Span.

We must stop the gop from exploding the deficit like w did so the balance the budget amendment is not needed.

Just don’t vote gop stupid.

UGA 1999

November 18th, 2011
11:34 am

Welcome….sorry you are having a hard time comprehending a simple question.

UGA 1999

November 18th, 2011
11:34 am

Getalife….thanks for the Friday laugh! I needed it.

getalife

November 18th, 2011
11:37 am

No problem ug .

Supreme Conflict/Clarence Thomas and Anthony Scalia

November 18th, 2011
11:38 am

Scalia added that such soundbites would leave viewers with “a misimpression” of Supreme Court operations.

********************

Anthony Scalia and Clarence Thomas are morally and ethically guilty of conflict of interest by attending a republican fundraiser with the attorney who will argue AGAINST the health care law!

We know where their loyalty lies if they would blatantly attend a republican fundraiser.

As far as televising the hearings – I don’t care one way or the other. The deck has been stacked against the law.

getalife

November 18th, 2011
11:42 am

You should ask what is the next corporate crap they will mandate for you to buy.

It sets a horrible precedent but the sc is corrupt and ruled corporations are people.

Kyle Wingfield

November 18th, 2011
11:44 am

Hillbilly @ 11:22: Hearings at the Supreme Court are open to the public, too. And there are other courts that don’t allow video recordings. There’s a difference between being open to the public and televising hearings.

UGA 1999

November 18th, 2011
11:48 am

Obama is now pushing for government mandated car insurance…..Get ready haha.

Mad Max

November 18th, 2011
11:53 am

I think Scalla’s argument makes a lot of sense. Now if we could just do the same with the rest of our political coverage we would all be better off..

Hillbilly D

November 18th, 2011
12:07 pm

Kyle @ 11:44

True enough but how many of us can just drop everything and head up to DC to watch? Shine the light on them, I say.