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In push for transparency, many eyes focused on Supreme Court

Elena Kagan (left) and Sonia Sotomayor recently backed away from earlier views that suggested they would be open to allowing cameras to record Supreme Court arguments.Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press/File 2013/Associated Press

RE “CAMERAS at the Supreme Court: Kagan, Sotomayor do a 180” (Editorial, March 3): Today we have nobody on the Supreme Court willing to stick his or her neck out when it comes to opening it up to modern technology, even though some of the justices, such as Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, are thoroughly modern citizens, using e-mail, tablets, and cellphones like the rest of us, and live-streaming has been around for about 15 years.

Thankfully, a number of organizations have shed some light on the court despite the justices’ neo-Luddism, which, of course, extends beyond the ban on cameras for oral arguments. For example, the nine refuse to announce their public schedules, so SCOTUS Map has created an interactive online feed. They don’t reveal when they make changes to their written opinions after they’re issued, so a Twitter feed called SCOTUS Servo alerts the public when that happens. And they refuse to publish their annual financial disclosure reports online, so the Coalition for Court Transparency obtains the paper versions and uploads them to its website.


But for those of us who want a truly open court, one that allows the American people to experience its supposedly public hearings no matter where they reside, live-broadcasting oral arguments and decision announcements is a top priority.

Gabe roth

The writer runs Fix the Court, a national nonprofit that advocates for greater accountability from the Supreme Court.