The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee called on the Supreme Court today to televise its scheduled review of President Barack Obama’s health care law.
In a letter to Chief Justice John Roberts, Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa) asked that the high court allow audio and televised broadcasting of the landmark case to determine the constitutionality of the president’s health care overhaul, signed into law just last year. The Supreme Court has never allowed television coverage of its deliberations.
“Cameras in federal courtrooms are at the very heart of an open and transparent government. Broadcasting the health care reform law proceedings would not only contribute to the public’s understanding of America’s judicial system, but provide an excellent educational opportunity on a case that has the potential to have a far reaching impact on every American,” Grassley said in a statement. “This law is massive in size and scope. Its effect is reverberating throughout America’s economy. The constitutional questions are landmark. The public has a right to hear and see the legal arguments.”
Grassley played an integral role in the debate over health care reform during the 111th Congress. At the time, he served as the ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee and took part in the “gang of six” bipartisan negotiations — talks that ultimately failed to produce an agreement.
Also today, C-SPAN sent the Supreme Court a letter asking that television cameras be allowed in to cover the health care case. The court is expected to hear oral arguments in March.
Roberts has previously said the Supreme Court isn’t interested in televising its proceedings.
“We don’t have oral arguments to show the people, the public, how we function,” he told a 9th Circuit conference in 2006.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.