Cameras in the Court
Cameras in The Court Timeline

C-SPAN has sought to provide its audience with coverage of the Judiciary, just as it has covered the Legislative and Executive branches of government. The prohibition of televised coverage of the Supreme Court's oral arguments has been an obstacle to fulfilling that goal. Below is a record of C-SPAN's efforts to make the Court more accessible to the public.
5/23/18
Chief Judge Merrick Garland announces that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit would provide live audio streaming of all its oral arguments.
5/15/18
C-SPAN airs Regents of UC v. Department of Homeland Security Oral Argument Watch
4/11/18
C-SPAN airs City and County of San Francisco v. Donald Trump Oral Argument Watch
12/6/17
C-SPAN airs Hawaii v. Trump Oral Argument Watch
5/15/17
C-SPAN airs State of Hawaii, et al. v. Trump Oral Argument Watch
4/26/17
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals grants C-SPAN permission to air live audio of the oral argument in International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump Link
4/24/17
C-SPAN to air live video of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals oral argument in State of Hawaii v. Trump Link
6/20/13
U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit says it will release same-day audio of oral arguments free of charge online beginning September 9, 2013 Link
3/20/13
Supreme Court says it will release same-day audio of gay marriage arguments.
3/16/12
Justice Roberts’ response to C-SPAN Link
11/15/11
C-SPAN letter to Chief Justice Roberts on TV camera coverage of health care case Link
11/17/10
San Francisco Ninth Circuit Grants C-SPAN Access Cover California Same-Sex Marriage Ban Oral Argument Link
9/28/10
C-SPAN Statement In Response to Today's Supreme Court Announcement on Oral Argument Audio Release Link
6/29/10
During her confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Justice, Elena Kagan says in response to a question from Sen. Kohl: "I have said that I think it would be a terrific thing to have cameras in the courtroom ... I think it would be a great thing for the institution, and more important, I think it would be a great thing for the American people." Click here to watch | Sen. Specter also asks about cameras in the court. Click here to watch
5/10/10
Pres. Obama nominates U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan. She gave remarks on cameras in the court during a Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference from July, 23, 2009. Click here to watch
4/29/10
C-SPAN statement on today's Senate Judiciary Committee passage of two bills concerning TV cameras in the Supreme Court. Press Release
4/15/10
During hearing of House Appropriations-Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Services, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer comments on cameras in the court. Click here to watch
4/7/10
C-SPAN requests same-day audio release of oral argument in Christian Legal Society Chapter v. Martinez on April 19. Denied. C-SPAN Chart showing same-day oral argument audio requests since 2005 Click here to read
2/26/10
C-SPAN requests for same-day audio release of oral arguments in Skilling v. United States and McDonald v. City of Chicago on Tuesday, March 2nd – denied.
2/16/10
Request for request for same-day audio release of oral argument in Holder v Humanitarian Law Project. Denied.
11/2009
Requests for audio releases of oral arguments in Jones v. Harris Associates (investment fund fees), Graham v. Florida (life sentence for minor), and Sullivan v. Florida (life sentence for minor). Denied.
9/9/2009
Request for Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (Campaign Finance). Agreed.
7/2009
British Supreme Court decides to televise events from inside the court's three chambers. Article
7/2009
Judge Sotomayor questioned about cameras in the court during her confirmation hearings.Sen. Specter on Opinion Poll | Sen. Specter on Cameras in the Court | Sen. Kohl on Cameras in the Court
3/27/2009
Joint request for same-day audio release of oral argument in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder 4-291 granted. Request Letter
3/3/2009
Request for audio release of oral argument in Caperton v. A.T. Massey (Should elected state judges recuse themselves) denied.
12/10/2008
Request for same-day audio release of oral argument in Ashcroft v. Iqbal (Can President's Cabinet be sued for constitutional violations by subordinates) denied.
12/3/2008
Request for audio release of oral argument in Phillip Morris USA Inc. v. Williams (Supreme Court-State Court authority) denied.
11/12/2008
Request for audio release of oral argument in Pleasant Grove City v. Summum (Free Speech) denied.
10/15/2008
Request for same-day audio release of oral argument in FCC v. Fox Television Stations (Television Indecency Standards) denied. Request Letter | Story
9/26/2008
Request for same-day audio release of oral argument in Altria Group, Inc. v. Good (Marketing of "Light" Cigarettes) and Winter v. Natural Resources denied. Request Letter
4/14/08
Request for same-day audio release of oral argument in Kennedy V. Louisiana (Death Penalty for Rape) denied.
3/21/2008
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle Editorial on allowing cameras in the Supreme Court.
3/6/2008
The Senate Judiciary Committee passes the "Sunshine in the Courtroom Act" which allows cameras in federal court rooms with a vote of 10-8 with one member abstaining. The bill is referred to the full senate for consideration. Press Release
3/2008
Request granted for same-day audio release of oral argument in District of Columbia v. Heller (DC Gun Law). Press Release
3/2008
Request denied for same-day audio release of oral argument in United States v. Ressam ("Millenium Bomber" case).
1/16/2008
NY Times Editorial on Cameras in the Supreme Court.
1/02/2008
Request for same-day audio release of oral argument in Crawford v. Marion County (Voting Rights) denied.
1/2008
Request for same-day audio release of oral argument in Baze v. Rees (Lethal Injection). Court agreed. Press Release
12/06/2007
Senate Judiciary Committee votes in favor of sending S. 344 to the full Senate for a vote. The bill would require television coverage of the Supreme Court's open sessions unless a majority of justices vote to block cameras for a particular case.
11/16/2007
9th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion in Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation v. Bush cites C-SPAN's request to record oral argument and date footage was televised. See footnote 5, page 14969.
10/2007
Sent letter requesting early audio release of Boumediene v. Bush & Al Odah v. U.S. (Guantanamo Detainees) Court Agreed. Press Release
9/2007
Sent letter requesting early audio release of Medellin v. Texas (Presidential Powers) and Stoneridge Investment v. Scientific-Atlanta (Securities Fraud) Denied.
9/27/2007
C-SPAN President Susan Swain tesitifies before House Judiciary Committee on H.R. 2128, Sunshine in the Courtroom Act of 2007. Watch | Read Testimony
9/11/2007
Aired same-day audio of CBS vs. FCC hearing on Television Indecency Standards.
8/16/2007
Aired camera footage of Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals 8/15/07 oral argument in two cases on the government's warrantless wiretapping program. Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, Inc. v. Bush Hepting v. AT&T
3/7/2007
Sent letter requesting camera coverge of 3rd circuit CBS vs. FCC hearing on Television Indecency Standards. Received permission for audio only.
3/2007
Sent letter requesting early audio release of FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life and McCain v. Wisconsin Right to Life (Campaign Finance). Denied.
3/2007
Justices Kennedy and Thomas comment on cameras in the court before a House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the FY08 Supreme Court budget. Watch Justice Kennedy | Watch Justice Thomas
2/2007
Sens. Specter and Cornyn discuss cameras in the courts with Justice Anthony Kennedy during Judiciary Committee hearing. Sen. Specter questions Justice Kennedy directly. Watch | Sen. Cornyn remarks on his experience with cameras. Watch | Watch Hearing
2/2007
Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX/2nd), a former judge, delivers a floor speech about opening the court to cameras. Watch
2/2007
Sent letter requesting early audio release of Rita v. United States and Claiborne v. United States (Federal sentencing guidelines). Denied
1/2007
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) introduces cameras in the Supreme Court legislation. Watch
1/2007
Introduction of the Sunshine in the Courtroom Act of 2007 in the 110th Congress, co-sponsored by Sens. Grassley (R-IA), Leahy (D-VT) and Schumer (D-NY).
1/2007
Sent letter requesting early audio release of Davenport v. Washington Education Association and Washington v. Washington Education Association (Union dues). Denied.
11/2006
Requested early audio release of oral arugments in Parents Involved v. Seattle School District No. 1 and Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education (Affirmative action) Court agreed. Press Release
11/2006
Sent letter requesting early audio release of Parents Involved v. Seattle School District No.1 and Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education (affirmative action). Court agreed.
10/2006
C-SPAN airs live a discussion between Justice Scalia and Nadine Strossen, President of the ACLU, called " The State of Civil Liberties." Watch
10/2006
Requested early audio release of Gonzalez v. Planned Parenthood and Gonzalez v. Carhart (abortion ). Court agreed. Press Release
8/2006
C-SPAN's Brian Lamb interviews Chief Justice John Roberts in one of his first television interviews since joining the court. Watch
6/2006
Letter to Chief Justice Roberts requesting simultaneous release of all oral arguments beginning with 2006 term. Denied.
3/2006
Sens. Grassley (R-IA) and Schumer (D-NY) introduced Sunshine in the Courtroom Act
3/2006
Requested early audio release of Hamdan v Rumsfeld. (Military Tribunals) Court agreed. Press Release
2006
Requested early audio release of voting rights act cases. League of United Latin v Perry; Travis County, Texas v Perry; Jackson v Perry; GI Forum v Perry. Denied.
2006
Requested audio release of tape of the investiture of Justice Alito. Denied.
11/2005
U.S. House passes provisions of Sunshine in the Courtroom Act Statement.
11/2005
C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the issue of cameras in the Supreme Court. Watch | Read
11/2005
Requested early audio release of: Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (abortion) and Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights ("don't ask, don't tell" policy). Agreed.
10/2005
First letter to Chief Justice Roberts offering C-SPAN capabilities to provide gavel-to-gavel camera coverage of Supreme Court.
4/2005
C-SPAN airs live a "Constitutional Conversation" moderated by Tim Russert with Justices Breyer, O'Connor and Scalia. They discuss the role and operation of the Court, among other subjects. Watch
1/2005
Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) introduces legislation to televise the Supreme Court Statement.
2005
Requested early audio release of Van Orden v. Perry and McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky. (Separation of church and state) Denied.
2004
Requested early audio release of Roper v. Simmons. (Execution of juveniles) Denied.
2004
Requested early audio release in the following cases. Rasul v. Bush and Al Oday v. United States; Cheney v. US District Court; Hamdi v. Rumsfeld; Rumsfeld v. Padilla. Court agreed.
5/2003
Justice Thomas participates in C-SPAN's "Student and Leaders" with students at Banneker High School.
5/2003
Justice O'Connor participates in C-SPAN's "Student and Leaders" with students at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C.
2003
Requested early audio release of McConnell v. FEC. (Campaign finance rules) Court agreed.
2003
Sent letter requesting early audio release of Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger. (Affirmative action cases) Court agreed.
12/2000
Letter to Chief Justice Rehnquist requesting live audio release of Bush v. Gore. Received early audio release, not live.
11/2000
Letter to Chief Justice Rehnquist requesting camera coverage of Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board. Court agreed to release audio only.
1991
C-SPAN is instrumental in advocating and implementing a 4-year experiment with the Judicial Conference to test television coverage of civil cases before two federal Courts of Appeals and six District Courts.
9/1990
C-SPAN airs first live telecast of a federal court proceeding from a military appeals court.
11/1988
Participated in demonstration of potential camera coverage in Supreme Court.
2/1988
First letter to Chief Justice Rehnquist requesting camera coverage of Supreme Court.
1987
Court permits C-SPAN to originate live interview and call-in programs from its Press Room.
1985
C-SPAN launches '' America & the Courts,'' a weekly program focusing on the Judiciary with an emphasis on the Supreme Court.
1981
C-SPAN televises its first Supreme Court Senate confirmation hearing with gavel-to-gavel coverage, with the nomination of Sandra Day O'Connor.