June 24, 2021
Judiciary Committee Advances two Grassley-Backed Bills to televise Federal Court Proceedings
WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee today advanced two bipartisan bills backed by Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that would require televised coverage of federal court proceedings.
Sunshine in the Courtroom Act
The Sunshine in the Courtroom Act, introduced by Grassley and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) would give federal judges, at both the district court and appellate court level, the discretion to allow cameras in the courtroom to televise proceedings, with a number of protections in place to protect witnesses, jurors, and due process considerations.
“Federal court decisions can impact the lives of Americans for generations, yet many Americans may never have a chance to step foot in a courtroom and witness the judicial process in action. Allowing cameras in federal courts creates a window into our judicial process and would foster a greater understanding of, and appreciation for, the American judicial system,” Grassley and Klobuchar said.
This bill is also cosponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Richard Blumenthal, (D-Conn.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.).
Cameras in the Courtroom Act
The Cameras in the Courtroom Act, introduced by Durbin and Grassley, would require the Supreme Court to permit television coverage of all open sessions of the Court, unless the Court decides, by a majority vote of the Justices, that doing so would constitute a violation of the due process rights of one or more of the parties before the Court.
“The Supreme Court routinely issues rulings on cases that affect American lives for generations to come. Americans deserve the opportunity to witness deliberations and rulings on these cases, which is why the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance our bill that puts cameras in the Supreme Court. Shining a light into the Court’s historic halls increases transparency, strengthens democracy, and informs citizens of the issues at the forefront of their government,” Grassley and Durbin said.
The bill is also cosponsored by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).
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