Should the Supreme Court be televised?


January 25, 2018

In the Debate section of Jan. 29, 2018, issue of Upfront magazine, two professors gave their opposing views regarding the question: Should the Supreme Court be televised? After reading the pro argument from Georgia State University professor Eric J. Segall, and the con argument from Chicago-Kent College of Law professor Nancy S. Marder, the staff of The Rambler weighed in with their opinion. Our opinion was unanimous arguing that the Supreme Court should not be televised. Read the individual responses below. 

I don’t think the Supreme Court should be televised. They made an argument that it would help inform the public on how the Supreme Court operated were to be televised. I don’t think that’s that good of a reason because if you wanted to be informed on it, you could still read the transcripts of the oral arguments or even listen to the audio. I think it is also a possibility that if the oral arguments were to be televised they could become a form of entertainment. The judges do have to get their questions answered without them having to think about whether or not the audience is being entertained. The [Supreme] Court has a lot to deal with alone, and bringing cameras would not make their jobs any easier.
Ryan Rzepecki

I believe that the Supreme Court should remain out of the public eye. Many people have a false understanding of what a court room actually is and of the proceedings which take place inside. We have a delusion that TV shows like Law and Order, or Judge Judy accurately display a real court room with topics that are highly sensitive. Televising the Supreme Court cases would only benefit an extremely small portion of the American people who would actually tune in or feel strongly on the topic. On the contrary, it gives advocated ammunition to pull certain quotes, or behaviors, from inside the court room to create even more unrest and could undo the Supreme Court altogether. As of now, we receive audio recordings of the judges. These are easily understandable, and we don’t need them to be exposed to a system completely foreign to them, and allow others to twist our minds, and their words around a completely false idea of what justice is taking place behind closed doors.
Alec Thomas

In my opinion, the Supreme Court should not be televised to the public. Very important decisions and arguments are held in the Supreme Court, and having extra media there could distract the judges from doing their jobs correctly. People that support televised Supreme Court cases argue that they want to see what is going on visually, allowing them to be more entertained and intrigued by the cases. This argument could be valid if the Supreme Court didn’t publish any of the cases, but they do. You can listen to the audio of arguments or read the transcripts online at the Court’s website. Therefore, adding cameras and other television equipment to the Supreme Court would be unnecessary and could honestly be detrimental to a productive Supreme Court hearing.
Keegan Welka

I do not think that the U.S. Supreme Court debates should be televised. Although it would be interesting and truly capture the attention of many Americans, I believe that televising the aforementioned debates would not bode well for the nation as a whole. People have a tendency to act different with the cameras on and millions of people watching them. The increased pressure that would be placed on the judges would be overwhelming and are not necessary. The people should be more concerned with whether or not the court makes the correct ruling, not if they reached it in an entertaining fashion worthy of being shown on television. Additionally, a ruling’s transcripts can be read on the court’s website along with audio clips always being at the public’s dispense. There is no need to implement such a dramatic change in how the Supreme Court operates.
Alex Welz

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