April 25, 2006

Arlen Specter (R-PA) Wants Cameras at the Supreme Court

For ... inane reasons he can't possibly be serious about. I mean, c'mon:

I agree that our constitutional system is best served by giving the Supreme Court the last word, but there is no doubt that congressional procedures and authority have been severely diminished by the court. And the public needs to be able to assess these issues by shining a televised light on the justices.

And how exactly is televising oral argument supposed to help people assess issues pertaining to the separation of powers? He does realize that the public isn't filled with lawyers who'll actually be able to follow the detailed legal discourse that dominates a lot of oral arguments, right? He just assumes the people know the text of section 14 of US code 195? Uh huh. Yeah. Right.

If the public understood the extent of the court's power, perhaps the electorate would insist that Congress do its job on a variety of issues -- including desegregation, Guantanamo Bay detainees, eminent domain and defendants' rights -- instead of punting to the court.

I don't think many American's lack an understanding of the Court's power. In fact in some cases I'd say they think the Court has more power than it does. And the whining about Congress not accomplishing anything because ... 1) the people don't know that the Court has power and 2) the Court is supposedly usurping authority in certain policy areas ... well, that's just plainly-embarrassing ass covering by a smart attorney who's been in the Senate for over 25 years. If he can't get his colleagues to actually deal with the issues of the day, that's unfortunate. But it has a lot more to do with him and his colleagues than it does with the presence or absence of cameras in a room across the street.

Posted by armand at April 25, 2006 01:16 PM | TrackBack | Posted to Law and the Courts

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