Bench Memos

Against Televising the Obamacare Oral Argument

C-SPAN has requested that the Supreme Court permit it to televise the 5-1/2 hours of oral argument in the Obamacare case, and voices as diverse as Senator Charles Grassley and the New York Times editorial board have weighed in in support of video coverage.

It’s not surprising, of course, that those who favor general televising of all Supreme Court oral arguments (C-SPAN, Senator Grassley, and the New York Times all fall into this group) would support televising of the Obamacare oral argument. But anyone less committed to a general practice of televising all Supreme Court oral arguments ought to be inclined to the view that the intensely politicized environment surrounding the Obamacare litigation makes it perhaps the worst possible candidate for experimenting with televising. Thus, I think that the New York Times is off base when it asserts that the Obamacare case “should surely be an exception” to the rule against televising arguments (a rule that NYT doesn’t bother to note that it opposes).

My own general case against cameras in the Supreme Court is here.


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