C-Span Petitions Supreme Court To Televise Hearings On Health Care Law
C-Span has formally petitioned the Supreme Court for permission to televise the 5 1/2 hour oral argument on the Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act:
Ruling on the health reform law is sure to be one of the most important Supreme Court cases of this generation and the court has budgeted more than 5 hours for the arguments. When the court decides next year if the government can require every American to buy health insurance or pay a fee, they’ll make a decision that effects every citizen in the country.
But unless the court changes current policy, none but the few Americans able to score a ticket or stand in line will be able to watch the arguments.
C-Span’s Brian Lamb sent a letter to Chief Justice John Roberts today asking him to permit C-Span to televise the health care oral arguments, which pit lawyers for 26 states the federal government.
“We believe the public interest is best served by live television coverage of this particular oral argument” Lamb says in the letter and adds the case “will affect every American’s life, our economy, and will certainly be an issue in the upcoming presidential campaign.”
No hearing at the Supreme Court has ever been televised. The arguments will be held in the end of March over 5 ½ hours. Lamb says the length of time “begs” for camera coverage. The chambers can seat up to450, but that includes lawyers for both sides, the public and the press.
Personally, I think think this is a great idea. There have been experiments with this idea at the Court of Appeals level and they’ve worked out spectacularly. Considering that this is perhaps the most significant case to be argued before the Court in decades, I think it’s entirely appropriate.
Here’s the letter from Brian Lamb: