Justice Roberts Gets Message About Cameras


Washington— Wasting no time to begin the lobbying, C-SPAN sent newly installed Chief Justice John Roberts a letter Monday offering to demonstrate that the latest in digital-camera equipment would nearly guarantee unobtrusive television coverage of the courts oral arguments.

C-SPAN chairman and CEO Brian Lamb also renewed the public-affairs network’s promise, first made in 1988 to former Chief Justice William Rehnquist, to televise every second of every oral argument without editing or commentary.

“Our commitment still stands,” Lamb wrote in a brief letter, adding that in 1988 C-SPAN participated in the only camera demonstration the high court has allowed.

C-SPAN’s letter was addressed Oct. 3, Roberts’s first day atop the federal judiciary. At his Senate confirmation hearings, Roberts did not reject out of hand the idea of cameras in the court as other justices have.

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) introduced a bill last week that would force the court to permit camera coverage with few exceptions.