Without using the term “going native,” the New York Times reports that Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor have developed second thoughts about the desirability of televising arguments before the court.
The NYT’s Adam Liptak noted that, at her confirmation hearings, Sotomayor said: “I have had positive experiences with cameras.” But now, echoing her longer-serving colleagues, she worries that televised snippets from arguments would lead viewers who haven’t read the briefs (basically, all of them) to think that “the judge favors this point rather than that point. Very few of them understand what the process is, which is to play devil’s advocate.”
Kagan has executed a similar about-face, Liptak points out: “At her confirmation hearings in 2010, she said video coverage ‘would be a great thing for the institution, and more important, I think it would be a great thing for the American people.’ Two years later, she said she now had ‘a few worries, including that people might play to the camera’ and that the coverage could be misused.”
I don’t think these second thoughts are grounds for impeachment, but they are frustrating for supporters of televising the court (myself included). And they are also rather patronizing.