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Elena Kagan: Cameras at the Supreme Court 'a terrific thing'

By Ed O'Keefe

The Elena Kagan confirmation hearings continue today with hard questions from lawmakers, about her decision as dean of Harvard Law School to briefly bar military recruiters from the school's career services office because of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy and about her White House years.

But The Federal Eye's ears (!!) perked up when Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) asked about allowing television cameras into the high court:

"I recognize that some members of the court have a different view, and certainly when and if I get to the court I will talk with them about that questions, but I have said that I think it would be a terrific thing to have cameras in the courtroom," Kagan said at C-SPAN cameras rolled (see above). "And the reason I think, is when you see what happens there, it's an inspiring sight. ... I basically attend every Supreme Court argument. ... It's an incredible sight, because all nine justices, they're so prepared, they're so smart, they're so thorough, they're so engaged, the questioning is rapid fire. You're really seeing an institution of government at work really in an admirable way."

"The issues are important ones … I mean, some of them will put you to sleep," she said later to laughs. "But a lot of them, the American people should be concerned about and interested in."

If she gets confirmed, Kagan is certainly in the minority on this issue. But still, hear, hear.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 29, 2010; 1:30 PM ET
Categories:  Confirmation Hearings  
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Well I am not too sure about the camera thing, but I do think that one some cases we should see it especially when it matters to the nation. But ACME vs Warner Brothers we could pass on. Really, this should be a quicky, even though Kagan looks like a deer in headlights, she should fly right through. But what's up with those skirt suits:

Posted by: republicanblack | June 29, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

The camera in this day in age has become a power tool good and bad and I'm afraid if allowed in the SCOTUS the Justices and Lawyers will pander to the camera taken away the focus on who there defending. Just my two cents :)

Posted by: Tom30701 | June 29, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

There cannot be a middle road; if you're going to televise The President versus...whoever, you then need to televise ACME vs Warner Brothers. Everything, when it reaches the Supreme Court is important. As much as I would like an open court, as much as I'd like to watch the Court in action, I agree that lawyers for both sides would play to the camera and to their audience ("...are you suggesting that the American people, the people who so freely love their country, etc., etc."), and I also believe that the judges would ask their questions differently, whether intentionally or not. As much as I personally would like to watch the court in action, I'd rather accept the privacy of the court at work. Better, to limit the reporting to court reporters than to flambouyancy and theatrics.

Posted by: Dungarees | June 29, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

It is an idea that is long past due. The concerns are fewer than at the trial court level -- where there are issues of witness intimidation -- and modern technology is sufficiently non-intrusive that I don't expect grandstanding to be a problem after the novelty wears off.

Posted by: Meridian1 | June 29, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

As a minimum the court should be broadcast on radio. It has been occasionally in some major cases. I can think of no reason it shouldn't be on TV as well. They can do it with decorum. What they do is important and people should know what they are doing and be able to see and hear it.

Regarding the skirt suits, who cares? She dresses appropriately for what she does.

Posted by: StanKlein | June 29, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

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