The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

November 8, 2013

Justices should get over their camera shyness

Back in March — when huge crowds were gathering around the U.S. Supreme Court building for the court’s discussion of same-sex marriage — we lamented how the only people who were going to be able to see the court in action were those who could fit within the court’s viewing chamber. (The line for those precious few available tickets began days before the hearing.)

If ever there was a time for the court to finally enter the 21st century — or even enter the latter half of the 20th century — it was when millions of people were interested in watching the debate over the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Last month, a panel convened by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press renewed the call for the justices on the nation’s high court to join their counterparts on the state level and finally allow video of their proceedings to be recorded. Held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., the 90-minute discussion — titled, “Today’s Supreme Court: Tradition v. Technology and Transparency” — included judges, attorneys, educators and journalists.

“Without cameras, the United States Supreme Court is missing out on a huge opportunity to foster greater public understanding of our judicial branch. Let’s help the public understand instead of keep them in the dark about the operation of the highest appellate court in the jurisdiction,” Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor said.

Unlike the justices in Ohio, Iowa and other states, the Supreme Court justices still seem worried that people will attempt to read even more in to their questions — especially their devil’s-advocate questions — than intended. They like to see themselves as nonpolitical arbiters of the law who shun the political attention they get regarding controversial decisions. And they fear that having cameras in their courtroom will encourage attorneys — maybe even themselves — to start playing to the camera rather than focusing on the people before them in the courtroom.

Text Only
Opinion
  • Holly Youngquist Friends of the Library book sale is underway

    Friends of the Library Book Sale is open now. The sale is open to all until 8 p.m. today and on Friday, Aug. 1, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Finally, Saturday, Aug. 2, is box day. From 9 a.m. to  3 p.m., books will sell at $3 per box.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Cremation service helped pet owner in her time of need

    I wanted to share some positive news about a business located in Clinton that I’m guessing most residents aren’t aware even exists. It’s Northridge Pet Cremation on Main Avenue and for me they were recently a godsend.

    July 31, 2014

  • LETTER TO THE EDITOR: A Cappella choir concert was a success

    The CHS A Cappella reunion was great. It was real great to hear so many good voices of so many former choir members.

    July 31, 2014

  • LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Time to boost social security

    It's time for Congress to act so that Social Security benefits can finally start to keep pace with the cost of living.

    July 31, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Off and on the record Let us now praise anonymous sources.The new White House press secretary got into a familiar old spat with the White House press corps the other day over the use of anonymous sources.Josh Earnest — has there ever been a more perfectly named White Hous

    July 25, 2014

  • Be more informed

    Blame the city.That is a favorite pastime of many, including me at times. Driving over that pesky pothole or paying that annual property tax bill can lead to some choice words referencing the city. Nobody takes the brunt of being the scapegoat more t

    July 25, 2014

  • CCC thanks community, collaborators for successful movie night Clinton Community College would like to thank those who participated in the free outdoor movie showing of “Captain America – Winter Soldier” on the evening of Friday, July 18.We are grateful to have such wonderful community collaborators in the Erick

    July 25, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook