CCT Statement on House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on H.R. 917, the Sunshine in the Courtroom Act of 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Coalition for Court Transparency today applauds the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet for convening a hearing on H.R. 917, the Sunshine in the Courtroom Act of 2013, a bipartisan bill introduced by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and co-sponsored by Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.).

Witnesses testifying at the hearing included Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association and leading First Amendment expert. The NPPA is one of nineteen national media and legal organizations that advocate for a more open and accountable U.S. Supreme Court as the Coalition for Court Transparency.

“Opening courts to electronic coverage is essential for the public to see that justice is being done, to be assured of the integrity of the process, and to better understand how decisions are made at both the trial and appellate levels, especially those of the Supreme Court,” Mr. Osterreicher told the subcommittee. “The only way that the public at large can have full faith in the decisions of our courts is to be able to see them firsthand, and the only way they can do so is to permit journalists to convey electronic coverage of the courts directly to the public.”

“According to an August 2014 poll, 74 percent of Americans support allowing cameras in the Supreme Court. Another 72 percent support live audio feeds, either on the radio or over the Internet,” said Alex Armstrong, spokesperson for the Coalition for Court Transparency. “Support for a more accessible, accountable Supreme Court has never been stronger, and we are thrilled that members of Congress are standing with the American people on this issue.”

Mr. Osterreicher’s full testimony is available here.