With a new Chief Justice heading the U.S. Supreme Court, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is hopeful the third time will be a charm for his legislation that would open the nation’s high court to TV cameras.
Grassley, a Republican, says the measure would give Justice Roberts the authority to allow proceedings to be televised. Grassley says he’s remaining persistent in getting the legislation passed. Grassley says “If you’re right, you eventually win out and I think on cameras in the courtroom, I’m right.”
He says 46 of the 50 states allow cameras in court and they’ve been allowed in Iowa courtrooms for 25 years and “there’s no down side.” He says the legislation would not only cover the U.S. Supreme Court, but presiding judges of panels of the Courts of Appeals, as well as the District Courts, would be granted the same power to decide.
Grassley says opening the courts to more viewers would better educate the populace about the process. He says “It acquaints the people of our country with a branch of government they aren’t very familiar with. Transparency in American government is a primary principle and more transparency in the courtroom and more education of the public about the processes of the judicial branch of government ought to strengthen our institutions.”
He says some people tend to by cynical about government but are only that way because of their ignorance of how government works. While it’s the third year Grassley’s introduced the legislation, he remains optimistic it will be approved.
Grassley says it took nine years to get a class action tort reform bill through, which was signed this year by President Bush, while it took eight years for passing a bankruptcy reform measure, which also became law this year, even after it had been vetoed once by President Clinton.
Grassley will testify about the cameras in the courtroom bill at 8:30 A.M. Central time Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.