These days we have cameras, and video at our fingertips. Our phones have progressed into a portable yet high quality way to capture moments. Not only can we record these moments, we can also share them at the touch of our fingertips. You may wonder, is there a place where there is any sort of safe haven from the never ending cameras and video? Well, in the US, there is one place... In 1946, the Federal Rule 53 was put into place. This said that it was not permitted to take photographs in the courtroom while there were judicial proceedings or broadcasting of judicial proceedings in the courtroom unless there is someone with certain permission to do so. Since then, there has been different debates regarding this rule. There is an interesting history behind the issue along with controversy and even possibly a way to solve this issue.
It all started in 1946 when they made it a rule to not permit cameras in the Federal Courts, however, there are more recent issues and discussion on the topic. As the times and the technology changed, the rule was extended to television cameras. In 1972, The Judicial Conference of the United States updated this rule, prohibiting “broadcasting, television, recording, or taking photographs in the courtroom and areas immediately adjacent thereto.” Later, in September of 1990, the Judicial Conference looked at a report that recommended a pilot program permitting media coverage of certain civil proceedings. Then in 1999, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley suggested the approval of cameras be allowed in Supreme Court Proceedings. The courts then released audio of arguments, but only after the conclusion of the arguments. The Supreme Court Justices are the biggest advocates for not allowing cameras in the courtrooms.
The current world revolves around television, internet and social media. One of the biggest controversy over this issue is that certain justices do not trust the media and their colleges. Justice Anthony Kennedy said in 2007 that if they introduce cameras, then the people speaking are more likely to say something to please the ears of others. He said that it would change the dynamic of the courtroom and this would then affect what they get accomplished and how they achieve their goals. As far as not trusting the media, Justice Antonin Scalia said in 2005 that the media is selective on what they show and this may misrepresent the actual process of what goes on in the court. Those in favor of having cameras have different points and experiences. They say that when they have experiments with cameras, they have participated and have seen a positive influence. Some say that it would be a good idea to have cameras in the courtroom because it would be beneficial for people to see what all goes on there and it would help people to feel good about this branch of government and its operation.
There is still the rule that there are no cameras or video allowed while there is discussion on the courtroom unless otherwise specified. This issue can only be solved if they come to some sort of agreement on the issue. As mentioned before, there have been different experiments where certain people can have their debate televised or recorded. This helps to Certain Justices remain open-minded regarding the situation and are open to debate and experiments with the idea of having cameras in the courtroom. However, there are still people that like the setting and way the courtroom atmosphere feels currently and do not wish to see it changed. I think that one way this issue may be solved is to split the time. They can have a certain amount of time set out where there are no cameras and videos and then set aside part of their discussion where there will be cameras and video permitted. This will allow both sides have their beliefs followed. If the justices really believe that they will get more done and be able to speak more freely when there are no cameras or video, then they will have that certain allotted time of privacy. This will also help the public to see what all goes on in the courtroom.
Works Cited -
“History of Cameras in Courts.” United States Courts. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 May 2017.
“Supreme Court’s Secrecy: No Cameras in the Courtroom - CNN Video.” CNN. Cable News Network, 14 Feb. 2016. Web. 02 May 2017.
Kessler, Robert. “Why Aren’t Cameras Allowed at the Supreme Court Again?” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 28 Mar. 2013. Web. 02 May 2017.