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Justices Speak Out Against Cameras in U.S. Supreme Court

October 15, 1995| From Associated Press

STANFORD — Two U.S. Supreme Court justices said Saturday that they oppose televising high court sessions because other federal judges would be pressured to allow cameras as well.

"Things in the legal profession, and particularly the judicial arena, change very slowly," Justice Sandra Day O'Connor told an alumni gathering at Stanford University, her alma mater.

Cameras in the Supreme Court would be "such a drastic change," she said. "It would undoubtedly influence all lower courts to follow suit."

She said the public has other ways to learn about Supreme Court arguments, such as audiotapes and transcripts.

Justice Stephen Breyer said he agreed with O'Connor, even though he voted in the past to allow cameras in the lower courts on a limited basis.

O'Connor, who attended Stanford as an undergraduate and a law student, and Breyer, also a Stanford alumnus, were questioned by law professors in a packed university auditorium.

Breyer, as a federal appeals court judge, was a member of the U.S. Judicial Conference when it decided four years ago to permit television and still cameras during civil cases in a few federal appeals courts and trial courts.

The conference voted last year to end the three-year experiment.

The Judicial Conference will reconsider the issue in March. But the chairman of its executive committee, Judge Gilbert Merritt of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, said last month there was little prospect of allowing cameras in trial courts after the O.J. Simpson trial.

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