Sens. Durbin and Grassley Introduce Bill to Televise U.S. Supreme Court Proceedings

WASHINGTON, D.C. On Thursday, March 16, U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced S. 858, the Cameras in the Courtroom Act, a bill to televise U.S. Supreme Court proceedings in real time. The bill would provide an exception to televised proceedings if a majority of the justices determined that such coverage would violate the due process rights of a party before the Court. 

In a press release, Durbin notes that oral arguments before the Supreme Court are open to the public in person and on an extremely limited first-come, first-serve basis. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Court has made live audio streams available. “Allowing public scrutiny of Supreme Court proceedings would produce greater accountability, transparency, and understanding of our judicial system,” the release continues. 

“The judicial branch has a massive impact on our daily lives and the lives of generations to come, yet few Americans ever get the chance to see inside the legal process,” Grassley said. “Allowing cameras access to Supreme Court would be a victory for transparency and would help the American people grow in confidence and understanding of the judiciary.”  

A parallel bill advanced out of committee last session but failed to move forward. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) have already signed on as cosponsors to this year’s bill.

In an effort to increase transparency in other parts of the federal judiciary, Durbin, Grassley and Klobuchar have also introduced S. 833, the Sunshine in the Courtroom Act, which would extend press coverage in federal court proceedings beyond the U.S. Supreme Court.

Learn more about S. 858, the Cameras in the Courtroom Act, here.