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No cameras in the courtroom

March 16, 2007

Re "May it please the cameras," editorial, March 13

The Times urges televising oral arguments at the Supreme Court. Like most proponents, it fails to understand the change it would create in the court. Oral argument, in some respects, is deceptive. The questioner may not believe his or her question, and the questions asked don't have to relate to the court's opinion. Televising oral argument gives it undue significance and will cause the justices to become more individualistic.

As Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has noted, the court should be an institution, not a collection of individuals. And examination of the court's work should be limited to its opinions -- not Justice Antonin Scalia's remarks or Justice Clarence Thomas' lack of questioning.

BILL L. THOMPSON

Ashland, Mo.

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