“It would be presumptuous of me to talk about it now,” current Judge Samuel Alito said at his confirmation hearing, though he teased that he had previously supported cameras in federal courts. KAGAN: There`s a principle of physics, I think, which is that when you use the observer – when the observer comes in, the observed changes. And you come to Congress and if you get all the truth serum, I think some of you might agree that the hearings change when the cameras are there. I must say that they can change the courts in subtle ways. I do not think there would be many people in the gallery. I hope my colleagues and I would not. I think we would filter ourselves in a way that would be unfortunate. The first time you see something in the evening news that, taken out of context, suggests something you never wanted to suggest. Suggests that you have an opinion on a topic you don`t actually have.
In general, cameras are not permitted in Federal Court proceedings, although audio recordings of the week`s pleadings are generally released. Over the years, several legislative efforts have been made to authorize cameras in federal courts and courts of appeal, but none have ever been passed. In 2010, the Judicial Conference conducted a three-year pilot project to study the effects of using cameras in courtrooms. The program started in 2011 and lasted until 2015 with fourteen participating dishes. It was limited to civil matters with the consent of the chairpersons and parties concerned. The recordings were posted on the U.S. courts` website. At the end of the programme, the Court Administration and Case Management Committee decided not to recommend any changes to the conference policy. Participating districts were allowed to continue the study to collect longer-term data. Kagan and Alito`s comments come from 2019 testimony before a congressional committee.
But we`ll start with Roberts` comments from a Q&A session in 2018. Find out here. He was asked if the time had come to have cameras in court. Prior to 1996, Indiana was one of three states that banned the use of cameras in all court cases. In 1996, the Indiana Supreme Court instituted a program to investigate the use of cameras in the courtroom. The Indiana Court of Appeals participated in this program and allowed media coverage of oral arguments before all three panel judges. Now, the media can report the Supreme Court`s arguments until a formal request to the court hearing the case is granted. At the level of the Court of First Instance, cameras and recorders are prohibited throughout the proceedings.
However, the Supreme Court may grant special permission for the video report if it deems it necessary. ROBERTS: Just the number of spectators we have in the courtroom, you`re worried about lawyers playing in front of the audience, and, I have to be honest, you`re worried that the judges will do that. And you don`t want that. The Court lays down the rules of its procedure and has expressly banned cameras of any kind in the federal chambers since 1946, with a few exceptions. And so allowing cameras would disrupt some sort of precedent — and maybe judges aren`t interested in it, unless they are. There are a few exceptions stemming from a pilot program that ran from 2011 to 2015, but the courts ultimately decided to stay out of sight. Der 9. Circuit sometimes allows cameras indoors. That`s what it looks like.
I hope that one day a courtroom will be so flooded with courtroom artists that they, too, will be banned and we will have to move on. Maybe a musician can walk into the courtroom and compose a piece based on the atmosphere of the trial. In the United States, photography and broadcasting are permitted in some courtrooms, but not in others. Some argue that the use of the media during court hearings is a travesty of the judicial system, although the issue has been discussed extensively. The presence of cameras can lead to false information that can damage the reputation of the courts and the confidence of the public and/or viewers watching television hearings.  Many famous trials, such as the O.J. Simpson murder trial, have been televised. During the O.J. trial, however, many judges decided to ban cameras in their courtrooms.  Immediately following this trial, California Governor Pete Wilson announced his opposition to televised trials and then asked the Judicial Council to consider reintroducing the ban on reporting on criminal trials through film and electronic media. However, it has been argued that the Simpson case is an anomaly that has little to do with the day-to-day concerns of media coverage of the criminal justice system.
 It is, of course, in the interest of the news media that reporting be allowed, and news organizations often ask the courts to allow cameras, citing the First Amendment right to public information or the Sixth Amendment`s right to a public trial. But “audience” doesn`t necessarily mean “on television.” In 2004, Judge Rodney Melville made such requests for a preliminary trial in the Michael Jackson trial, in which Jackson was charged with child abuse. Melville denied the press a hearing on the matter and banned cameras from the courtroom. (Jackson was found not guilty.) In 2011, however, Judge Michael Pastor allowed cameras in the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, who had mentored Jackson before the singer`s death and was charged with manslaughter. (Murray was convicted.) Pastor asked the media to submit their suggestions for the placement of the cameras so that they would be as discreet as possible. Another advantage of sketching over photography is that you are unlikely to accidentally draw someone who should not be identified, whereas photos offer much less protection. There are good reasons not to photograph child victims of crime and sometimes jurors (e.g., you don`t want them murdered by the accused`s “associates” during the trial), and sketches make it much less likely that you accidentally catch one of them. Some witnesses are nervously agitated in front of the cameras, which can damage their credibility with the jury.