Posted Apr 08, 2013 07:43 pm CDT
What did the public take from recent U.S. Supreme Court arguments regarding same-sex marriage? Images of people standing around outside–and that’s exactly why the justices should allow cameras in the courtroom, according to Maureen O’Connor, chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court.
An opinion piece detailing her thoughts ran April 7 in the Columbus Dispatch.
“Regardless of one’s views on same-sex marriage, this week offered a spectacle of vivid images demonstrating that the justices are lost in the 19th century when it comes to being open and transparent to the public they serve,” she wrote. “Rather than seeing lawyers in action before the justices, we saw citizens huddled in the cold for days, waiting for a ticket to have the privilege to watch our democratic system of justice in action. There are more than 300 million Americans, but only 500 seats in the Supreme Court gallery.”
The argument that cameras in court will encourage lawyers and justices to grandstand, O’Connor wrote, is a tired one. Thanks to the Internet and social media, she adds, public expectations about getting knowledge have changed radically, and the U.S. Supreme Court needs to recognize that.
“The impact of video and audio has no equal, and absent really being there, there is no substitute.”