Senators request televised Supreme Court health care ruling

Rachel Rose Hartman
June 19, 2012

When the Supreme Court hands down its decision on the president's health care law, Sens. Patrick Leahy and Chuck Grassley want you to be able to watch it for yourself.

Leahy (D-Vt.) and Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote to the Supreme Court (pdf) Monday requesting live television coverage of the court's historic ruling on the president's health care law, which is expected to be issued this month.

"Given the fundamental constitutional questions raised and the effects the decision will have, the Court should be aware of the great interest Americans have in the outcome of this case," the senators wrote, arguing that "minimal" cameras would not be intrusive.

"We believe permitting the nation to watch the proceedings would bolster public confidence in our judicial system and in the decisions of the Court."

A New York Times/CBS poll released earlier this month found the court in low public standing, with just 44 percent of Americans offering approval of the court's performance. Separate polls have shown wide public support for televising court proceedings in this historic case.

The court has never permitted cameras in its courtroom—a longstanding source of great debate—and is unlikely to break with tradition following this latest request.

Lawmakers, media and others pressed the court early this year to televise proceedings in the health care reform case, but the court would not relent. The justices did, however, change their rules to release same-day audio and transcripts of the arguments as they unfolded this spring.