A growing number of House Democrats are urging support for a new law or new rules allowing television cameras inside U.S. federal courts, CBS News reported.
The news comes at a time former President Donald Trump faces federal criminal trials in Washington, D.C., over charges he tried to overturn the 2020 election results, and in Florida over the alleged mishandling of classified documents.
Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa and Amy Klobuchar D-Minn., in March — before it was known Trump would be charged federally — sponsored a bill allowing cameras in the federal criminal court systems nationwide.
CBS News reported Sunday that multiple House Democrats now are now encouraging support for such proposals, citing the importance of ensuring any Trump trial is shown on television. They even are leveraging Republican claims of “witch hunts” against Trump as part of their arguments.
“I’m sure that Republicans are going to try to say that this case is somehow a ‘put-up’ job. That it’s a ‘railroading,’ ” Rep. Jerry Nadler, R-N.Y., the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, told CBS News.
“If the American public can see what goes on, they will be much more confident in our justice system.”
A coalition of three dozen House Democrats wrote a letter to the Judicial Conference of the United States, which oversees federal court procedures, seeking a change of policy to allow for televised proceedings of any Trump federal trial.
The Congressional Research Service in August published a memo, reviewed by CBS News, saying the federal prohibition on cameras in federal courts can only be overturned through a decision by the Judicial Conference or through Congressional legislation.
Democrats also have discussed making changes to the Supreme Court following decisions with which they disagree — the most obvious being in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that returned the abortion issue to the states.
CBS News reported it had obtained a copy of a “Dear Colleague” letter seeking support for legislation to require television cameras inside the Supreme Court. The letter is circulating among U.S. House members.
Democrat Reps. Gerry Connolly of Virginia, Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois, Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia and Rep. Adam Schiff of California said, “the lack of transparency creates a perception of secrecy unworthy of the third branch of our government.”
“It also limits the public and the media to one-dimensional and sometimes distorted views of the Justices’ actions because court transcripts cannot provide the public and the media with the verbal intonations, body language, and other cues that can help interpret meaning and provide clarity,” the letter continued.
Connolly told CBS News that “the Supreme Court is not some mystical, druidic priesthood that periodically deigns to review constitutional issues and hand down their wisdom from on high. The American public has a right to witness consequential and historic proceedings that come before the highest court.”
Charlie McCarthy ✉
Charlie McCarthy, a writer/editor at Newsmax, has nearly 40 years of experience covering news, sports, and politics.
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