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Key Excerpt: Specter and Sotomayor on Idea of Televised Court Proceedings

Courtesy of CQ Transcriptions

SEN. SPECTER: C-SPAN has conducted a survey which shows that 61 percent of the American people would like to see the Supreme Court televised. And in the survey, it disclosed how little the American public knows about the Supreme Court.

Mr. Chairman, I'd ask consent this be included in the record.

LEAHY: Without objection, it will be included in the record.

SPECTER: The interest that has been generated by this confirmation proceeding, encouraged by the television, shows the enormous interest that people have in what the court does. And there has been a fair amount of coverage by the justices on television, as I cited yesterday. Many have appeared on television. Justice Kennedy says he believes the television is inevitable.

Everybody has said who's testified that there's a grave concern about the collegiality, and people do not want to make a judgment before talking to their colleagues. And the sense has been derived that if anybody really has a strong objection -- and Justice Souter has expressed that view, as noted on his widespread comment that if cameras -- if TV cameras were to come to the court, they'd have to come in over his dead body.

And if confirmed, Justice Souter's body won't be there at all. Would you tell your colleagues the favorable expression -- experience that you've had with television in your courtroom and perhaps take a role in encouraging your colleagues to follow that experience for the Supreme Court?

SOTOMAYOR: I would certainly relay my experiences. To the extent some of them may not know about the pilot study in many courts, I would share that with them, although I do suspect they do know, and will participate in discussions with them on this issue. And those things I would do, Senator.

Continue reading the exchange between Sen. Specter and Judge Sotomayor here.

By Washington Post editors  |  July 16, 2009; 11:30 AM ET
Categories:  Hearings , Supreme Court , Topics: Televised Court Proceedings  
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