Beware a televised Supreme Court
The press generally applauded this month when the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to require the U.S. Supreme Court to televise proceedings. Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., was one of the big proponents.
As a card-carrying member of the press, I have reservations.
Maybe it's just nostalgia. I covered the court for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in the 1980s and loved to watch the artists set up for big arguments, arranging their pencils and positioning their canvas.
I also fear that justices and lawyers will become show boats. Justice Scalia already is, but things could get worse.
Reporters should also beware what they wish for. Oral arguments seldom produce sound bites.
Lastly, Congress probably doesn't have the power to order the court to televise arguments. The separation of powers is essential to the architecture of the Constitution. Congress no more has power to force the court to televise its proceedings than the court has the power to order Congress to change its rules.