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?
Total Voters: 54
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