During a House Appropriations Committee hearing on Supreme Court budget, Justices Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan answer questions on televising the court. Included in their answers are the following statements:

Justice Alito: “Most people think that our arguments should be televised. Most of the members of my family think that arguments should be televised. I used to think they should be televised.” #SCOTUS

Justice Kagan: “If the seeing it came at the expense of the way the institution functioned that would be a very bad bargain. I do worry that cameras might come at that expense.”

Watch complete hearing here:


  • I find these videos streams to be the most honest and transparent thing I have ever seen my government do. Thank you for streaming this.

  • Alito trembled while making excuses for hiding legal arguments on public issues from the public in the most clear way possible. That Alito considers live public oversight 'damaging to the decision making process' is the most anti democratic thing I have heard.

  • News clips would be twisted. But it wouldn't hurt for the people to know more of cases argued in front of SCOTUS. We all can agree that very few would go to the website and read. C-SPAN used to broadcast the audio on their 3rd channel which is not available to all.
    Before I cut the cord, I was a C-SPAN junkie. No news tells us what's going on in DC except for a blurb now and then. Usually after something is done finalized, that's too late for us to contact our Representatives.

  • Fear of getting smeared by the press and looking bad on a live stream does not provide justification for hiding public policy development from public oversight in the fastest and most accessible way technology allows (clearly that is live TV).
    Democracy and technology are not going to ruin the institution. Just go on the live stream. People will be more understanding when they hear it from you and it will be harder for the news to smear you in sound bytes because the longer format soures will be so much more accessible.
    Use the technology!

  • Yes sound bites for the evening bias news routinely taking things out of contacts and another platform for lawyers to grandstand is definitely not something I want to see. Now I would be in favor of segments such as opening arguments closing arguments and judge's rulings viewable by the public. But everything in between most of us would only get sound bites and spin doctoring from the sources we seek information from.

  • Supreme Court proceedings are fundamentally hearings, auditory phenomena that allow us and the justices to sit, listen, read, think, and reflect on the arguments being posed. Not the litigants or their gestures or performances. Video seems counterproductive. Having audio, briefs, and transcripts seem sufficient.

  • Release the transcripts. Do not put cameras in the Court. The brilliance of Brown v Board was in the briefs. Go see what Scalia said about it

  • Good because I’m at the point where I’m having trouble believing Justice Ginsberg is even alive… so to make sure there is absolutely no question I say YES! I pay for these people I want to see my tax dollars at work

  • Supreme Court hearings are boring as hell///w a capital "B"…having been there and done this experience, unless you speak legalese, its hard to follow. There is alot of assumptive questioning, referring to precedents that are assumed to be known by the people presenting. If you have not read up on the case and don't know what you are getting into, you will not last. I am just saying…this is one of those things that sounds great on paper, will not be great if implemented. You can read the decisions both the affirmative and dissent online. A much better option. Watch Scalia's explanation on this topic when Congress asked this question… He is absolutely spot on w/his explanantion.



C-SPAN programs three public affairs television networks covering Capitol Hill, the White House and national politics. C-SPAN is a private, non-profit public service created by the cable television industry.

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