Washington (March 16, 2023) - Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) joined Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), both of whom are members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today in introducing the Sunshine in the Courtroom Act of 2023 to allow the public further transparency into the judicial system by allowing television cameras in federal courtrooms. Senator Grassley also joined Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) in introducing a bill requiring the Supreme Court to permit television coverage of all open sessions of the Court, unless the Court decides, by a majority vote of the Justices, that doing so would constitute a violation of the due process rights of one or more of the parties before the Court.
Senator Grassley’s efforts to expand the public’s view of the judicial process come amid Sunshine Week
, which celebrates the public’s right to a transparent and accountable government.
“The judicial branch has a massive impact on our daily lives and the lives of generations to come, yet few Americans ever get the chance to see inside the legal process,” Senator Grassley said. “Allowing cameras access to the federal and Supreme Courts would be a victory for transparency and would help the American people grow in confidence and understanding of the judiciary.”
The Sunshine in the Courtroom Act of 2023
would grant the presiding judge in all federal courts, including the Supreme Court, the discretion to allow cameras in the courtroom while protecting the identities of witnesses and jurors when necessary or upon request. It also prohibits media coverage of private conversations between clients and counsel, between opposing attorneys, and between counsel and the presiding judge. The bill contains a three-year sunset provision, requiring Congress to evaluate how media access is impacting the judiciary. Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) are also cosponsors. The full text of the bill is available HERE
The Cameras in the Courtroom Act
only applies to open sessions of the Supreme Court – sessions where members of the public are already invited to observe in person, but often cannot because there are a very limited number of unreserved seats in the courtroom. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) are also cosponsors. The full text of the bill is available HERE