Turley and Greenhouse Discuss Supreme Court

175px-Linda_Greenhouse,_2005The ABA Journal has posted a podcast that I did with former New York Times journalist Linda Greenhouse on the Supreme Court. Greenhouse is currently the Joseph Goldstein Lecturer in Law and Knight Distinguished Journalist-in-Residence at Yale Law School.


The podcast can be accessed here.

65 thoughts on “Turley and Greenhouse Discuss Supreme Court”

  1. Who cares if the attorneys “act”? Good lord, you think they don’t “act” already when in the courtroom? They still have to answer to the court and the Justices and make their argument a compelling one.

  2. Groty,
    My guess is cameras would technically be no different than a visitor in the courtroom. Of course as Nick pointed out, how the ‘actors’ perform in front of the camera will be factored into how the people perceive the process. Some will believe a large percentage of the general public will bother digging into the legalese to understand ‘what’ took place rather than ‘how’ it took place. That’s a quaint notion but completely inconsistent with the reality of our uninformed electorate.

  3. And yes Groty, I think that sounds like it would be a violation of the separation of powers, but hey I’m just a lay person, what do I know?

  4. Yes Groty I did hear that and wondered at the time how that would happen. What branch can compel another branch? I know the Executive has the DOD and the DOJ, it can use for ‘enforcement’. How does the SC enforce? How does the Congress enforce? What if the Executive sides with the Congress and enforces what they want the SC to do? Or what if the Executive sides with the SC and enforces what the SC wants the Congress to do?

  5. Inga, not sure if you listened to the podcast, but in it Professor Turley said he thought Congress should pass a law and “order” the SCOTUS to televise the hearings (I’m pretty sure “order” was the word he used). I’m not a lawyer but when I heard him say that I immediately wondered why that would not violate the separation of powers principle.

  6. Olly, I videotaped people for a living. When they didn’t know they were being videotaped, they acted much differently than the times they realized they were. We have many videotaped hours of home movies. I hated the staged, talking to the camera. So, I would often just have the camera on my lap and have tape rolling. This made for much better viewing. Of course, w/ every video camera I bought, the first thing I did was put black electrical tape over the blinking red light. My family loves the candid videos much more than the other phony, staged ones. Now, there are individual differences vis a vis being videotaped. Some people are less affected than others when they know they’re being videotaped, but no one is totally real and natural.

  7. Nick,
    Human Nature seems to be the one element commonly ignored. It is the reason I asked people to consider the unintended consequences.

  8. Groty, that is very interesting. It reminds me of Washington state SC putting the state Congress in contempt of court. Why would the Congress have the authority to compell the SC do anything, or vice versa?

  9. I want cameras in the meeting room when they discuss the cases. That would be edifying. Just kidding, they need that private. I lean toward cameras in the courtroom. But, anyone who doesn’t think that will change how cases are argued, and how judges act, know NOTHING about human nature.

  10. If Congress compelled them by law to provide televised Supreme Court sessions, and the Supreme Court objected and filed a lawsuit based on it being a violation of the separation of powers, who would hear the case if it was appealed all the way to the Supreme Court?

  11. There was a time that the Church thought that the congregation shouldn’t hear the service in anything but Latin, because they wouldn’t understand the teachings of Christ anyway. There was a time that doctors didn’t discuss the patient’s diagnosis in detail because they thought they wouldn’t understand the medical terminology. There are plenty of people who would benefit from viewing the proceedings despite not understanding all the terminology. One can Google anything. Curious people do research all on their own volition.

    1. Congress can hurt a lot more people than the police. Maybe just have a camera when talking with lobbyists – there should be nothing to hide

  12. One advantage to broadcasting the SC live is we would receive the information unfiltered. One disadvantage to broadcasting the SC live is we would receive the information unfiltered. Unless we are going to replace Common Core with Trivium and require every student to learn Latin, then I believe the vast majority of citizens will be either uninterested or unprepared for the information they’d receive.

    What would be the unintended consequences that are usually not considered until it’s too late?

  13. I am for cameras in the Supreme Court and body cameras on all senators and members of congress to keep them as honest as the police

  14. I would hope that the SCJ’s would be more on their toes and show professionalism when the camera’s roll. In other words, they and the attorneys would put their best foot forward.
    We wouldn’t have to rely on the media to skew their words in the newspapers and on TV, until we can finally read the briefs and documents.

  15. Also why should we fear the how the attorneys arguing their cases will act in front of a camera? It’s the Justices who rule on the cases. Are we afraid that the Justices will be swayed by public opinion if the attorneys grandstand and the public sees and hears it live? I don’t think there are really any good arguments to be made for keeping the SCOTUS proceedings in the dark ages.

  16. I agree with Professor Turley that it’s silly that we as Americans must have limited access to the Supreme Court. Why should we not be allowed to see and hear the SCOTUS in session? Why do we afford the Justices such special treatment? The Judiciary is a branch of government, we get to see the Congress making laws, we get to see the President signing laws, why do we not get to see and hear the Justices hearing arguments on the constitutionality of laws?

  17. JT wants the Supreme Court to allow cameras in. I disagree. We can hear them on CSPAN. TV cameras would cause the justices and the lawyers to showcase, showboat, the whole nine yards. Thomas does not speak and I don’t think that a camera will reveal anymore about him. If they go on TV then Scalia is likely to wear his Italian hat.

    There are other issues that might be important.

    On the Internet. We need for the Court to provide all briefs and documents FREE not make us pay Pacer to obtain them. Sooner rather than later. The ABA needs to do better on blogging skill. Law journals need to all post their articles on the internet. Please promote that notion JT if you agree. Otherwise we have to go to libraries. We don’t need Westlaw Net, which advertised on the podcast today.

    Who is a Journalist? Who is covered under the First Amendment? Is a blog part of the Free Press? Those are three questions to address. What JT and Linda miss are that a blog is a method for all follks to petition their government for redress of grievances. THAT prong of the First Amendment gets glossed by the journalist and is in the “fog” touched on by JT.

    Linda is good about the use of “links” provided on web articles. And their value.

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