Put the Supreme Court on TV

The vast majority of U.S. state supreme courts, as well as the British Supreme Court, allow television. “If you bring … cameras into the oral argument there’s a big plus for the court and for the public,” Justice Clarence Thomas recently told a House committee. “I think they’ll see that we do our job seriously. We don’t always get everything right, but we take it very seriously.”

Our national survey found that 63 percent of American voters support cameras, with broad strong support across party, race, gender, and ideology. And among the 37 percent who oppose televised oral arguments, when told that spectators and the media are currently permitted, fully 60 percent changed their mind in favor of oral arguments. This means that, as Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) noted at the Kagan hearings, “about 85 percent of all Americans favor televised hearings.”