Senator Grassley is calling for cameras in the High Court - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Senator Grassley is calling for cameras in the High Court


The United States Supreme Court heard final oral arguments Wednesday over the constitutionality of the Affordable Healthcare Act. The court's decision will impact millions of Americans, but only a few hundred were allowed to watch the proceedings in person.

While the justices debated the case inside, outside protesters and reporters waited to hear what was said. "Hear" being the key word, as only audio recordings are documenting the arguments.

"When you start to think about the importance of that case, there's a belief among many that the people should be able to see what's going on there," said Scott Peters, UNI Associate Professor of Political Science.

"It's a missed opportunity, but it brings emphasis to my legislation," said Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley.

Grassley is pushing for a change to the High Court's camera policy.

"I asked to have cameras in the courtroom voluntarily by the Supreme Court for this very important case -- one of the most important in the last 50 years. The Chief Justice denied it," said Grassley.

The main argument against allowing cameras in the courtroom is how it would impact the behavior of those who are testifying, and the justices who are hearing the case. Think about it like this -- knowing you have the attention of courtroom full of people is very different than knowing the entire country, or the entire world, is watching.

"They think that may result in the lawyers grandstanding more, making political speeches, making speeches that are aimed not at the justices but at the external constituents. And I think they've even expressed some fears that maybe the justices themselves might change the way they ask questions, knowing that those sound bytes are going to end up on the nightly news," said Peters.

Grassley believes, Americans would learn more about their government by watching future proceedings live. But Peters said, that's not his -- or any other lawmakers -- call to make.

"To have Congress come in and telling the Supreme Court how it must conduct itself in its internal affairs, in my view, would be a violation of separation of powers," Peters added.

The Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision on the Affordable Health Care Act this summer.

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